Author

Debra J. Leih

Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date

1996

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Abstract

Alcoholism significantly impacts society. The purpose of this study was to describe perceived uncertainty and locus of control experienced by the alcoholic who has achieved and maintained sobriety. This exploratory descriptive cross-sectional study simultaneously examined 68 alcoholics in three stages of recovery. Information from two questionnaires, the 23-item Likert format Mishel Uncertainty in Illness Scale-Community Form and the 25-item forced choice Drinking-Related Locus of Control Scale, was gathered by a professional contact involved in Alcoholics Anonymous. Results demonstrate uncertainty is present in Alcoholism recovery. Uncertainty was highest in Alcoholism Recovery Phase I (0 to 6 months sobriety) and lowest in Alcoholism Recovery Phase II (6 months to 3 years sobriety). The range of uncertainty was widest in Phase I. Results indicate decreasing uncertainty across the 3 Alcoholism Recovery Phases. Subjects demonstrated more internal than external locus of control throughout the 3 Alcoholism Recovery Phases. Phase I showed the lowest mean and median internal locus of control scores and the widest range of internal locus of control scores. The range of scores for internal and external locus of control overlapped in Phase I. Phase II demonstrated the highest mean, median, and mode scores of the 3 phases. Phase III internal locus of control measures of central tendency decreased but not to the level of Phase I. The results suggest the range of uncertainty and internal/external locus of control behaviors is widest at the beginning of alcoholism recovery. Uncertainty decreases across the recovery phases. Phase III demonstrates a more symmetrical distribution of both uncertainty and internal/external locus of control scores. Statistically significant correlations were found among (a) age and internal locus of control and external locus of control, and (b) among male gender and internal locus of control and external locus of control in Phase II. Clinically important correlations were found in Phases I and II (a) among age and uncertainty and internal locus of control and external locus of control, (b) among income and uncertainty and internal locus of control and external locus of control, and (c) among total years drinking and uncertainty and internal locus of control and external locus of control. Other clinically important correlations were found among marital status and uncertainty, years of military service and uncertainty, and military rank and internal locus of control and external locus of control. The investigator postulates the high level and wide range of uncertainty and the wide range of internal and external locus of control in Alcoholism Recovery Phase I may suggest an appraisal process as recovery begins. The decreased uncertainty and increased internal locus of control in Phase II may possibly demonstrate sample attempts to cope. The more symmetrical distribution of uncertainty and locus of control scores in Phase III may suggest adaption to continued uncertainty. Nurses must anticipate client involvement with alcohol and must be educated and comfortable addressing alcoholism, and uncertainty and control issues. Nurses must use expert communication skills in screening for alcoholism, supporting the recovering alcoholic, and providing information to the alcoholic, family and community.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Recovering Alcoholics -- Psychology

Alcoholism -- Treatment

Format

application/pdf

Number of Pages

185

Publisher

South Dakota State University

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