Rehabilitation unit staff attitudes toward substance abuse: Changes and similarities between 1985 and 2001

Jeffrey R. Basford, Daniel E. Rohe, Robert W. DePompolo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objectives: (1) To assess the attitudes of the members of an inpatient rehabilitation unit team toward their unit's substance abuse and tobacco use policies, and (2) to compare the findings with those of a survey 16 years earlier. Design: An anonymous repeated assessment of staff attitudes and behaviors. Setting: A 47-bed inpatient rehabilitation unit. Participants: Rehabilitation unit nurses, occupational and physical therapists, psychologists, physicians, social workers, and speech pathologists. Interventions: Not applicable. Main Outcome Measure: Change in response with time. Results: Seventy percent (89/128) of the staff members completed the survey. Seventy-two percent believed that they were "familiar or very familiar" with the unit's substance abuse policy and 51% were "concerned" or "very concerned" about their patients' alcohol and drug use. Nineteen percent reported complaints about the policy from their patients and 8% reported complaints from family members. Support for a uniform substance abuse policy remained high: 96% supported a uniform policy in both 1985 and 2001. However, only 15% believed that staff drug abuse education was adequate and only 45% believed that the current policy was "adequate" or "very adequate." (Corresponding responses in 1985 were 20% and 50%, respectively.) All but 1 respondent considered tobacco use an addiction, but only 48% believed that their patients were routinely assessed for its use. Conclusion: Support for a uniform substance abuse policy remains strong. Although most team members support the policy, they believe that their education about substance abuse is inadequate. Staff members almost unanimously accept tobacco use as an addiction, but they believe that assessment and intervention efforts are poor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1301-1307
Number of pages7
JournalArchives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2003


  • Alcohol-related disorders
  • Rehabilitation
  • Substance-related disorders
  • Tobacco

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation


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