Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Center for the Advancement of Education


During the nineties, increasing attention is being paid to the problem of impairment in nurses. The antecedents to professional impairment were analyzed in this study. Included in the study was exploration of the levels of burnout, depression, co-dependency and alcohol use in sophomore level community college nursing students. These four variables were analyzed in relationship to demographic data regarding the students, specifically, activities related to self-care. The following hypotheses were tested: (1) there was no significant difference on the mean scores for burnout, depression and co-dependency, (2) there was no significant difference in the mean scores on burnout, depression, co-dependency and amount of alcohol use, (3) there was no significant correlation between the mean scores on burnout, depression, and co-dependency, (4) there was no significant difference in the mean scores for burnout, depression and co-dependency as a result of the demographic variables, and (5) there was no significant difference in the amount of alcohol use as a result of the demographic variables. Subjects for the study were ninety-six community college nursing students enrolled at El Centro College in Dallas, Texas. Each of the participants was asked to complete the following instruments: Staff Burnout Scale for Health Professionals (SBS-HP), Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), Friehl Co-Dependency Assessment Inventory (FCAI), and the Alcohol Use Inventory (AUI). Demographic data, which included age, sex, employment status, marital status, and frequency in which students engaged in self-care activities such as aerobic exercise, proper diet, meditation and recreation, were also collected. Students were also queried as to the presence of any close relative with a drinking problem or depression. Data were analyzed via descriptive statistics, a one-way analysis of variance and the Pearson product-moment correlation. All tests were run at the 0.05 level of significance. Conclusions drawn from the study indicated that the majority of students in the sample were experiencing moderate levels of burnout and co-dependency but were not depressed. Tools used to measure burnout, depression and co-dependency correlated significantly. The majority of students in the study drank alcoholic beverages, and ten to fifteen percent of them may have been abusing alcohol. More than one-third of the population had close relatives who were depressed or had a drinking problem. The majority of students in this study did not engage in self-care activities that were conducive to a healthy lifestyle. Engaging in recreational activities was found to be a mediator in alleviating depression. And, finally, students who did engage in recreational activities frequently had used alcohol within the past thirty days. The results of this study were used to build an intervention model for students in this program of study. The model consists of three components: (1) implementation of a policy to address the impaired student, (2) design and implementation of a required course in Addictions and Self-Care, and (3) implementation of self-help programs. In addition to the intervention model, the following recommendations were made. A similar study should be repeated with faculty since they are role models for students. Since the majority of students in this sample work more then twenty hours a week, the implementation of a part-time curriculum should be considered. This study should be repeated using a different tool to measure depression. Using the same design, a longitudinal study should be conducted. This study should be repeated using a tool to assess eating disorders, since over one-half of the subjects in this study were attempting to lose weight.

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