Nurses’ Substance Abuse: Stress, Coping, and Self-Efficacy


This study consisted of a survey that assessed nurses’ lifetime and current use of licit (e.g., alcohol) and illicit (e.g., cocaine) substances. Surveys were mailed to 4,000 nurses who were randomly selected from the 25,000 licensed nurses (RNs and LPNs) who resided in Western New York. Initial data was collected in 1990 and the survey was repeated one year later. Results indicated differences between RNs and LPNs. For example, more RNs reported lifetime and current use of alcohol, while more LPNs reported lifetime and current use of cigarettes. More RNs reported lifetime use of opiates and hallucinogens as compared to LPNs. There were differences in lifetime substance use based on work setting and nursing speciality. Age and marital status were related to substance use. Lifetime experiences of negative consequences were rare and few nurses reported dependence on substances other than tobacco and caffeine. Funded by a grant of $776,966 from NIDA, 1990-94.