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Levels of substance use and willingness to use the employee assistance program

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Abstract

Individuals with drinking and drug problems may become particularly reluctant to seek help. To remove barriers to services, more needs to be understood about factors that influence helpseeking decisions. It was hypothesized that certain social psychological influences (attitudes, group cohesion, trust in management) might buffer a reluctance to use services provided by an external Employee Assistance Program (EAP). A random sampling of municipal employees (n=793) completed anonymous questionnaires that assessed willingness to use the EAP, individual drinking and drug use, attitudes toward policy, work group cohesion, and trust in management. Data from the questionnaires were analyzed with multivariate regression analyses to examine the interacting effects of substance abuse and proposed moderators (gender, race, awareness of the EAP, perceptions of policy, cohesion) on willingness to use the EAP. The results demonstrated that although substance abusers were less willing to use the EAP than were nonusers, substance abusers who were aware of the EAP, who had favorable attitudes toward policy, and who did not tolerate coworker substance abuse were as willing to use the EAP as were nonusers. The results also showed that employees with greater awareness of the EAP, support for policy, and perceptions of work group cohesion reported significantly greater willingness to use the EAP than did employees with relatively less awareness of the EAP, policy support, and cohesion. Workplace prevention efforts that are designed to increase the use of EAP services should intentionally target the workplace environment and social context. Creating the awareness and favorability of the EAP, policy, and work group cohesion might buffer substance abusers' reluctance to seek help.

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Correspondence to G. Shawn Reynolds MS.

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Reynolds, G.S., Lehman, W.E.K. Levels of substance use and willingness to use the employee assistance program. The Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research 30, 238–248 (2003). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02289811

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