Gender-related hospital staff attitudes about chemical addiction

Mariann Rose Pello, Fordham University


The purpose of the study was to explore the possible relationship between the seven identified staff characteristics and the ten dependent variables measuring contemporary vs. traditional attitude toward chemically addicted women and toward chemical addiction in general, within a New York State licensed and regulated (OASAS, 1993) Substance Abuse Department hosted by a teaching hospital, and its significance for the social work profession. The research findings suggested that gender, and years of professional work experience in the field of substance abuse were significant variables influencing staff attitudes. The significant findings supported Hypotheses #1 and #3 of this study. Staff women had a greater tendency to be more contemporary in their attitudes about chemical addiction in general and chemical addiction in women. Staff women were more likely to recognize that chemical addiction in women may be directly associated with sexual inequality and conflicts with traditional gender role expectations. Female staff were more prone to reject the myth that chemically addicted women are morally weak, corrupt, and without will power, and recognized that societal myths only contributed to addictions in women. The staff men tended to be far more traditional in their attitudes toward chemical addiction in general, and specifically toward women. They were more prone to see chemically addicted women as more difficult to treat and as morally corrupt and promiscuous. The research findings suggested that interdisciplinary hospital staff continue to: maintain very traditional, moralistic, punitive attitudes about chemical addictions and that the treatment needs of women are not clearly understood; and believe the myths that chemically addicted women are more difficult to treat and are more emotionally unstable and ill. The research suggests that all interdisciplinary staff may require training to insure a nonjudgmental approach to treatment, with sensitivity to the particular needs of the special groups (men, women, survivors of sexual abuse and incest, children of alcoholics, etc.) within the chemically addicted population.

Subject Area

Social work|Health care|Social psychology

Recommended Citation

Pello, Mariann Rose, "Gender-related hospital staff attitudes about chemical addiction" (1995). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9529893.