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Attitude Survey: Substance Abuse

Substance abuse has become prevalent among communities today.  Many assume that substance abuse or addiction is due to the lack of willpower and that the addiction could negate itself at any time chosen by the individual.  However, drug abuse alters the way the brain fosters compulsive use making quitting difficult (“National Institute On Drug Abuse: The Science Of Drug Abuse & Addiction”, November 2012).   As communities are culturally diverse, so is the attitude towards substance abuse and addiction (“National Institute On Drug Abuse: The Science Of Drug Abuse & Addiction”, November 2012).  An attitude survey can aid in gaining awareness of how society perceives substance abuse and addiction.

Attitude Survey

An attitude towards something is related to the concept of self-image and social acceptance (McLeod, 2009).  To maintain a positive self-image, an individual may not profess their true attitude towards something because it may not be in compliance with the social viewpoint (McLeod, 2009).  Therefore several methods of measuring attitudes have been developed (McLeod, 2009).  A survey can measure attitude through a direct method such as the Likert scale that utilizes bipolar adjectives to understand respective opinions about a certain topic (McLeod, 2009). Another direct method is through semantic differential that assesses the attitude, potency, and activity of the topic (McLeod, 2009).  A semantic differential assesses if the individual attitudes are consistent with behavior (McLeod, 2009).  Since the majority of society seeks out social acceptance, social desirability is the greatest drawback of direct methods of measuring attitude as individuals may not reflect true feelings on the survey (McLeod, 2009).  Substance abuse and addiction are not socially desired attributes. Therefore, individuals may curve their responses to socially accepted views.

Steps to Creating Survey

The purpose of the survey is to assess the amount of awareness the community has about drug abuse and addiction.  The survey targets society as a whole within the United States and will administration will take place through an online database.  The initial portion will utilize interval or ratio scale that will assess the age and demographics of the individual taking the survey.  The information is pertinent to gather a well-rounded opinion base of all ages and demographic areas.  The second portion of the survey will utilize the Likert scale to assess the attitude and opinion of the taker.  Utilization of purpose-built selected-response style hinges the true or false responses of participants (Hogan, 2007).  He last question will establish potential bias in individual answers.  The survey will consist of fifteen questions that should take no more than ten minutes to complete yielding it a more effective survey as immediate response usually yields the true attitude of the individual (Hogan, 2007).  There will be 15 scores produced.

Scoring will consist of a computer-generated compilation of all scores that will reflect in fifteen total scores for the fifteen question.  Research suggests that Americans have a negative attitude toward substance abuse and addiction (Join Together Staff, 2014).  A survey taken in 2014 claimed that society felt more comfortable working alongside an individual suffering with mental illness than an addiction and drug addiction gives the right to decline work  (Join Together Staff, 2014).  Additionally, many felt that adequate insurance should not be necessary for an individual with an addiction or abuse issue as well as the mentally ill (Join Together Staff, 2014).  The stigma of substance abuse and addiction that flocks society is that individuals are weak and suffer from moral failing rather than a medical issue that is treatable (Join Together Staff, 2014).  It is this stigma that encourages one to query exactly how deep is the stigma and is it societal induced or a true attitude that encompasses individuals.

Issues Encountered

Designing the survey was fairly difficult.  The decision of who to target proved to be challenging as dividing into age groups would prove more in depth, but also more difficult to evaluate truthfulness and a full understanding of the question at hand.  Choosing an assessment scale also proved difficult as the prior research indicated that society definitively has a negative outlook on substance abuse and addiction that indicated knowledge of the topic could be minimal or massive.  Lastly, deciding on questions that needed little thought was a challenge.  The aim was for questions that yielded a natural and immediate response to thinking about the question could cause an individual to choose a socially acceptable answer versus a true opinion (Hogan, 2007).

Instructions for Administration, Scoring, and Interpretation

The survey will be administered electronically on-line at free will of the participant.  It will only be administered to individuals residing in the United States, to uphold the American opinion.   Results compilation of fifteen categories or questions will undergo conversion into percentage scores of the fifteen categories.  The first five questions will only deviate the opinion of respected demographics.  The percentage of true implies the negative opinion of substance abuse and addiction whereas the false implies a more positive opinion, meaning substance abuse and addiction are preventable medical conditions through the use of public awareness efforts and treated.  The last question is solely intended to identify if the individual may present answers with bias.  Prior research implicates the American majority has a negative opinion of substance abuse and addiction, however, that research may prove to be misleading through a survey that eliminates thought time by utilizing basic and thoughtless automatic responses.

Conclusion

Measuring the attitude, potency, and activity of an individual’s perception of certain topics by eliminating obstacles that lead them to answer socially correct as opposed to personally accepted opinions eliminates the possibility of an invalid survey (Hogan, 2007).  The survey developed aims to meet all the professed goals.  He results yielded will allow researchers to gather an understanding of where societal, opinion lies regarding the society as a whole.  By understanding the true opinions, one can develop a plan of action that aims to educate the public that will bring a wider acceptance of the medical condition of substance abuse and addiction.

 

References

Hogan, T. P. (2007). Psychological testing: A practical introduction (2nd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Join Together Staff. (2014). Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. Retrieved from http://www.drugfree.org/join-together/survey-people-negative-opinions-drug-addiction-mental-illness/

McLeod, S. A. (2009). Attitude Measurement. Retrieved from http://www.simplypsychology.org/attitude-measurement.html

National Institute on Drug Abuse: The Science of Drug Abuse & Addiction. (November 2009). Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/understanding-drug-abuse-addiction

Appendix

Attitude Survey

  1. Are you over 25?                                                                                T             F
  2. Are you under 18?                                         T             F
  3. I live in the United States T             F
  4. I live in an urban area           T             F
  5. I live in a suburb or rural area T            F
  6. Use of drugs should be legal in the confines of a person’s home T            F
  7. Experimenting with drugs and alcohol is normal T            F
  8. People can stop using drugs or alcohol if they want to stop T            F
  9. An addict has no willpower T            F
  10. Addiction is a mental health issue T            F
  11. Substance abusers are dangerous people                                              T           F
  12. People with substance addiction are selfish and disrespectful T           F
  13. Substance addiction decreases lifespan T           F
  14. Addiction is curable T           F
  15. I never tried a drug T          F
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