Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Counselor Education


Educational Leadership, Counseling, and Foundations

Major Professor

Herlihy, Barbara; McCollum, Vivian

Second Advisor

Bauer, Scott

Third Advisor

Remley, Ted

Fourth Advisor

Watson, Zarus


The purpose of this study was to increase understanding of beliefs of substance abuse counselors regarding multiple relationships. The association between beliefs and the variables of educational level, recovery status, experience, and supervision were explored. Purposeful sampling and multiple criteria were used to select seven states of the 31 that responded to a request for information regarding licensure or certification in their state. Participants were chosen from the following seven states: Arizona, Illinois, Maine, Maryland (D.C.), Montana, North Carolina, and Wyoming. Twenty percent (20 %) of individuals from each of the seven states were selected to participate. Random sampling was utilized to select participants from each of the seven mailing lists. Participants were mailed a cover letter, demographic questionnaire, and a researcher-developed instrument entitled the Multiple Relationship Survey for Substance Abuse Counselors (MRS SAC). Of the 765 surveys that were assumed to have been delivered, 387 usable surveys were returned for a return rate of 50.6%. Results of the study showed that two variables were indicative of a lower total score on the MRS SAC, which indicated participants viewed more items as ethically problematic. Non-recovering individuals obtained a lower total score on the MRS SAC and individuals currently receiving supervision obtained a lower total score. This indicated non-recovering individuals and individuals receiving supervision found more multiple relationship behaviors to be ethically problematic than recovering individuals and individuals not receiving supervision. Highest degree obtained, experience prior to licensure, and supervision prior to licensure were not associated with lower total scores on the MRS SAC indicating these factors did not contribute to beliefs regarding multiple relationship behaviors. The results of this study have implications for substance abuse counselors, counselor educators, and national and state certification boards. Recommendations for further research were offered.


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