Educating treatment professionals about addiction science research: Demographics of knowledge and belief changes

Kenneth A. Lawson, Richard E. Wilcox, John H. Littlefield, Keenan A. Pituch, Carlton K. Erickson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Communication of accurate, objective, and timely scientific information to treatment professionals is important-especially in the "drug abuse" and addiction field where misinformation and a lack of exposure to new information are common. The purpose of this study was to assess knowledge and belief changes that accompanied educational workshops (3 or 6 hr-long) on addiction science targeted to treatment professionals (N = 1403) given in the United States and Puerto Rico between July 2000 and August 2001. Each workshop covered three main concepts: (1) terms and definitions; (2) basic neurochemistry of addiction; and (3) how new neurobiological knowledge will affect the treatment of addictions in the future. Analysis of variance was used to compare mean pretest to posttest change scores among levels of four independent variables: gender, age, occupation/position, and race/ethnicity. Workshop participants achieved a significant improvement in knowledge about addiction with younger groups achieving greater gains. Participants' beliefs shifted in the desired direction. Significant differences in belief shifts occurred among occupational and gender groups, but not among race/ethnicity or age groups. There was also a consistent change in the policy belief subscale that related to how strongly the audience members believed research on addiction was important. We conclude that addiction science education provided to treatment professionals can increase their knowledge and change their beliefs about the causes of addictions. In addition, the workshop participants form a base of constituents who are likely to support greater addiction research funding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1235-1258
Number of pages24
JournalSubstance Use and Misuse
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • "Substance abuse"
  • Addiction
  • Beliefs
  • Educational workshops
  • Knowledge

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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