Date of Award

Summer 1990

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Ivanoff, John

Second Advisor

Heiden, J. M.

Third Advisor

Jackobson, George


Although exact figures regarding the impairment of nurses by substance abuse and chemical dependence is difficult to assess, a recent survey by Naegle (1988) indicated that 3% of America's 1.7 million nurses (51,000) regularly use drugs, while the American Nurses Association (ANA) estimates that 8% to 10% of American nurses (136,000 to 170,000) have serious problems with drugs or alcohol. Regardless of the exact figure, substance abuse in nursing is a serious problem since clinical judgement may be jeopardized thus endangering patient care. Studies of other substance abusing populations have indicated these individuals possess certain personality characteristics which discriminate them from normal controls. Chemically dependent individuals have demonstrated such personality characteristics as: greater dependency, increased impulsivity, less positive self-concept, greater general maladjustment, more defensiveness, less emotional stability, more humility, shyness, and apprehension and less self control than normal controls. The purpose of this study was to develop a discriminative model for nurse substance abuse using subscales of well-known psychometric instruments. Twelve hypotheses were tested using subscales from the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI), the Tennessee Self Concept Scale (TSCS) and the 16 Personality Factor Inventory (16PF). Date were collected from an experimental group of 63 nurses who were in treatment for chemical dependency and 62 non chemically dependent nurses. Preliminary analyses of data revealed significant differences between the groups on nine of the twelve subscales. Data were further analyzed using stepwise discriminant analysis to develop a predictive model of substance abuse. Six subscales: TSCSCOLB (Moral ethical self concept): MAC (MacAndrew Alcoholism Subscale): TSeSCOLD (Family Self Concept): IMPS (Impulsiveness Scale): 16PFQ3 (Control Subscale) and 16PFH (Shyness Subscale) were selected by stepwise discriminant analysis to successfully categorize 93% of the non chemically dependent individuals and 98% of the chemically dependent individuals. A histogram plot of the resultant scores revealed that this function was able to discriminate chemically dependent nurses from normal non chemically dependent nurses over 95% of the time.



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