Theses Doctoral

Case Study of an Employment Program for Recovering Alcoholics

Sanders, Gertrude Rutkove

The study design called for a longitudinal evaluation of one hundred subjects enrolled in a vocational counseling program for recovering alcoholics. Due to CETA stipend cuts, and slowing of referrals, eighty subjects were studied. Subjects were administered two questionnaires, one at program entry, the second at a six month follow-up point. The study's primary purpose was to identify those factors associated with success. Success was defined as diminution or elimination of the problem drinking pattern and employment at follow-up. A number of hypotheses were tested. The study was carried out over the course of twenty-three months.

The mean age for subjects was 41. There were sixty-one men and nineteen women, 28% were members of a minority group. Subjects were typical of clinical treatment samples, more socially and psychologically impaired than a cross-section of the general drinking population. The majority were referred to the program by out-patient treatment facilities.

Seventy-seven percent of the subjects mailed in their follow-up questionnaire. At follow-up the rate of employment was 56%. Employment was associated with the following factors: Program completion, younger age, some college education or beyond, abstinence or controlled drinking, higher rates of religious participation. Women and minority members were as successful in securing jobs as white males.

The majority of the subjects were abstinent, with 13% problem drinking. Abstinence or controlled drinking was associated with the following factors: Employment, older age, minority group membership, no use of other drugs.

Comparing employed with unemployed subjects, we found the unemployed were more likely to be drinking, and were experiencing higher rates of depression.

Few subjects had strong family or friendship ties.

Counselors' predictions of subject performance reflected a favorable bias toward subjects with particular characteristics. Predictions had a high rate of accuracy, raising questions about the effect of counselor bias on subject performance. Overall, subjects rated the impact of the program high to moderately high.


More About This Work

Academic Units
Social Work
Thesis Advisors
Lukoff, Irving F.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
April 28, 2015