Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name



Counselor Education

First Advisor

John J. Pietrofesa


Societal attitudes toward alcoholics tend to be negative, and shame and behavior based. Research shows these same attitudes are prevalent among medical and mental health care professionals. Alcohol related problems are frequently misdiagnosed, and sometimes the expectation for recovery is limited or negligible.

This study posited that the attitudes of counselors in training would become more positive as a result of a substance abuse education course as evidenced by a comparison of the pre- and post- scores on The Marcus Alcoholism Questionnaire (MAQ) (Marcus, 1962). Moreover, they would demonstrate significant changes in their perceptions of personal confidence and competencies in working with alcoholics in a therapeutic setting. There was a significant positive effect on the belief that emotional difficulties or psychological problems are an important contributing factor in the development of alcoholism, that periodic excessive drinking can be alcoholism, and that alcoholism is an illness based on a comparison of the mean gain scores and related to their experience in the course. Moreover, students who had at least one course in substance abuse prior to the workshop believed more strongly at the end of the course that alcoholics are not weak willed individuals compared to students who had not had not had any formal coursework on the topic of substance abuse when comparing pre- and post- mean gains. There were no significant differences among mean gain scores for groupings based on ethnicity. Students who were confident in their ability to work with alcoholics therapeutically believed more strongly that alcoholics are not weak willed individuals compared to students who judged themselves as not confident, and students who judged themselves to be competent to work with alcoholics in therapy believed more strongly that alcoholics can recover from alcoholism. Finally, more students judged themselves to be confident in working with alcoholics after participating in the substance abuse education workshop.