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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Managerial women : substance use, stress, support systems and instrumentality Cormier, Rachel Marguerite


This study is concerned with variables that might influence substance use by women in non-traditional managerial occupations; a group at risk as a consequence of stressful and isolated work circumstances. The study examined the relationship between substance use and stress (daily hassles), perceived social support and work support, family history of alcohol abuse, friends' drinking behaviour and sex-role style. The Substance Use and Significant Others Scale was developed to measure use of alcohol, prescription drugs, illegal drugs, nicotine, and food, as well as the alcohol-using history of the family of origin and the drinking behaviour of current friends. The validity of this instrument was supported through a pilot study involving 113 male clients and 61 female clients from a drug and alcohol out-patient counselling centre and from the Aurora Treatment Centre, and 59 female managers from non-traditional occupations. A one-way multivariate analysis of variance with the five substances, family history of alcohol use and friends' drinking behaviour as dependent measures indicated a significant multivariate group effect. Post hoc analysis, using Scheffie's tests, comparing managers and female drug and alcohol clients, indicated significant group differences for the measures of alcohol, smoking, prescription drugs, illegal drugs, and family background of alcohol abuse. Comparison of the managers group with male drug and alcohol clients indicated group differences for the five substances, the family history, and for current friends' drinking behaviour. Internal consistency analysis in the pilot study led to the removal of the item on eating in the calculations of substance use. Participants for the study were volunteers involved in a longitudinal study on stress and coping. Eighty women from managerial non-traditionnal occupations in the Greater Vancouver area completed two questionnaire packets containing several instruments. Those of interest to this study were the Hassles Scale, the Social Support Scale, the Work Relationship Index, the Bern Sex Role Inventory and the new Substance Use and Significant Others Scale. Data on sex-role style and social support were collected one month prior to data on daily hassles, work support, substance use and significant others. A stepwise multiple regression analysis was conducted with substance use as the criterion variable. The regression equation reached signifance, F(3,76) = 6.84, p<.01, and accounted for 21% of the variance in substance use. Family history of alcohol abuse, hassles, and friends' drinking behaviour were positively related to substance use. Implications for further research and for counselling are discussed. The findings contribute to the knowledge about the relationship between daily stress, social and work support, family and friends' drinking behaviour, sex-role style, and substance use in managerial women.

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