Personality and Addiction Tendency: An Initial Comparison of Graduate Students of Nursing and Nurse Anesthesia
McDonough, John Paul
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Problem Statement. There is much support in the literature that for the fact that anesthesiologists, as a group, are much overrepresented in programs that specialize in the treatment of physicians for drug and alcohol abuse. It is also clear that there is considerable support for the view that the nurses most likely to become involved in drug and alcohol abuse are high achievers and those who work in high stress areas. Although nurse anesthetists are a group likely to be both high achievers and work in high stress areas, little is found in the literature relative to personality traits or to ~ddiction in this group of nursing specialists whose work is so closely related to another documented high risk group, namely anesthesiologists. Procedures. This study measured 3 personality facets and addictive tendency in 2 groups of graduate students. The control group was graduate nursing students not in an anesthesia program. The study group was graduate students in nurse anesthesia educational programs. The facets of Impulsiveness, Assertiveness, and Excitement Seeking were measured using questions from the NEO Personality Inventory and compared between groups using ANOVA and MANOVA. Addictive tendency was determined by the MacAndrew Scale of the MMPI. Findings. If data from the pilot group (first sample) and the study group (second sample) are combined, the following facts are revealed. The anesthesia group (n=81) was less Assertive (p=.002),. no different in trnputstveness (p=.792) and much more Excitement Seeking (p=.OOO) than the non-anesthesia (n=69) group. Further, the number of positive MacAdrew Scores (addictive tendency) in the anesthesia group was 18 (22.2%), while the non-anesthesia group had only 4 (5.8%). These figures represent a significantly higher (p=.OOO) propensity for addiction in the group of anesthesia students. It would seem that in these groups, Excitement Seeking is positively associated with addictive tendency. Conclusions. There are significant differences in personality facet scores between nurses who seek to specialize in anesthesia and those who do not. Further, there is a much greater number of students with a positive addictive tendency score among the anesthesia students. Recommendations. It is possible that those who have positive addictive tendency scores may be at higher risk to develop addictive difficulty with drugs or alcohol when exposed to the stress and drug availability associated with anesthesia training. Preventative educational programs should be a part of the nurse anesthesia curriculum.
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