Religiousness, current substance use, and early risk indicators for substance abuse and dependence among nursing students.
Description: The purposes of this study were to examine the prevalence of current substance use and early risk indicators for substance abuse and dependence, and to investigate the relationships among religiousness, current substance use, and early risk indicators among nursing students at seven Seventh-day Adventist colleges. Data for this descriptive study were collected through Efinger's Alcohol Risk Survey (EARS) (Efinger, 1984), the CAGE Questionnaire ( Ewing , 1984), and the Intrinsic/Extrinsic-Revised Scale (Gorsuch & McPherson, 1989). Participants were 241 nursing students enrolled in their first year of nursing courses at seven colleges and universities located across the United States . Findings indicated that 42% of students scored higher than the EARS mean; 24% reported current substance use; and 15% scored in the probable abuse/dependence category of CAGE. Students who reported current substance use and those scoring in the probable substance abuse/dependence category were significantly more likely to score above the EARS median. Intrinsic religiousness demonstrated a significant inverse relationship with current substance use. Significantly lower rates of current substance use were associated with higher rates of attendance at religious services. Respondents who indicated that their religion prohibited alcohol consumption reported significantly lower rates of current substance use than those who answered "No" or "I don't know" to their religion's prohibition of alcohol consumption. A substantial number of nursing students were found to have high numbers of early risk indicators for substance abuse and dependence that warrant intervention. The majority of students who scored in the probable substance abuse/dependence category also had higher EARS scores, thereby increasing their risk for substance impairment. Religious variables appear to have had a mediating influence on current substance use with this sample. Prevention programs should be aimed at risks that are modifiable, thus enabling students to make healthy decisions about using substances.
Date: December 2004
Creator: Gnadt, Bonnie