Honors Program

Honors in Psychology

Date of Award


Thesis Professor(s)

Andrea Clements

Thesis Professor Department


Thesis Reader(s)

Andrea Clements, Joseph Barnet, Julia Dodd


Drug and alcohol addiction is a nationwide epidemic with an increasing number of Americans being affected. Individuals who seek treatment for their addiction often face barriers, such as costs, waiting time, and available support, and those who are able to receive treatment are likely to experience or anticipate stigma from others. Existing literature has found that many employers have negative perceptions of individuals in addiction recovery. However, there is limited research that has analyzed whether these negative perceptions affect hiring decisions. We predicted that employers would have negative perceptions of those in recovery, would be less likely to hire individuals in recovery, and that those with previous substance misuse would perceive stigma from employers. A survey was completed by 53 employers using the REDCap web platform. There were 23 respondents who had a history of substance misuse. The survey contained items from the Addiction Attitudes and Beliefs Scale (AABS) and the Tobacco, Alcohol, Prescription medication, and other Substance use Tool (TAPS). The AABS contained modified items from the Substance Use Stigma Mechanisms Scale (SU-SMS) and the Perceived Stigma Addiction Scale (PSAS). Results indicated that the majority of employers had negative perceptions of people in addiction recovery, but employers were willing to hire those individuals. Results suggested that those with a history of addiction perceived stigma from their employers. Limitations of this study include lack of generalizability due to the small sample size and limited geographic area. Participants may have reported in a way that would make them appear socially desirable.


East Tennessee State University

Document Type

Honors Thesis - Withheld

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