Abstract Addiction to drugs and alcohol is a widespread, and ever-growing problem in American society today. Individuals who undergo treatment for their addiction often find it difficult to gain employment due to employers' negative perceptions of addiction. Previous research has found that many employers have a stigma of those in addiction recovery. However, little research has been done to determine if these stigmas affect hiring decisions. Drug and alcohol misuse are prominent in the Appalachian area, which presents an issue for employers in the area who maintain a drug-free work place or who have a stigma of those in addiction recovery. The proposed study will assess employers’ attitudes towards applicants who have a history of substance misuse and/or are in treatment for substance misuse, with specific focus on self-reported likelihood of hiring an applicant who is in recovery. We hypothesize that employers will report a decreased likelihood of hiring individuals who are in recovery for substance misuse. Participants who are at least eighteen years of age and English-speaking will complete a survey on the REDCap web platform that includes a subset of questions from the Addiction Attitudes and Beliefs Scale (AABS). Items that will be used to assess employers’ attitudes were adapted from the Substance Use Stigma Mechanisms Scale (SU-SMS) and the Perceived Stigma Addiction Scale (PSAS). The proposed study is part of a larger study that is assessing attitudes and beliefs toward addiction among employers and within faith communities, as well as perceived stigmas experienced by those who are living with addiction or have a history of substance misuse, with particular emphasis on attitudes within the Appalachian Highlands community. Possible limitations of this proposed study include the lack of generalizability since employers in the Appalachian area may not be representative of the overall population. Another possible limitation is the use of self-report measures. Participants may not be willing to report accurately due to the sensitivity of the topic. If results of the proposed study support our hypothesis, further research should look at ways to reduce stigma and support employers in hiring those in addiction recovery. Existing research suggests that employment is vital for addiction treatment success and is associated with a decreased likelihood of relapse, making the need for the amelioration of this stigma imperative in dealing with the addiction crisis.
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Henderson, Haley; Hoots, Valerie; Barnet, Joseph; and Clements, Andrea D.. 2019. Employer Perceptions of Addiction Recovery and Hiring Decisions. Poster Presentation. River Cities Industrial and Organizational Psychology Conference, Chattanooga, TN. https://scholar.utc.edu/rcio/2019/sessions/41/