Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Rehabilitation Counseling

First Advisor

Dr. Eva Miller

Second Advisor

Dr. Bruce Reed

Third Advisor

Dr. John Gonzalez


Over 28.6 million Americans have admitted to the ongoing use of illicit drugs and more than half of Americans are current alcohol drinkers yet a significant number of these people do not seek treatment. Trends regarding substance-related treatment have shown Hispanic drug users tend to underutilize drug and alcohol services and treatment avoidance is especially prevalent among Mexican Americans who reside along the US-Mexico border, due in part to the stigma associated with substance use. In addition, counselor attitudes as well as student counselors-in-training attitudes are showing a manifestation of the same kind of stigma toward substance use as the public. The present study was conducted at a large university located on the Texas-Mexico border and included: professional counselors, graduate students-in-training, and clients receiving treatment services for substance use disorders (SUDs). The purpose of the study was to compare perceived stigma of SUDs and to assess for socially desirable responses to rule-out bias. No significance was found in the differences of mean scores between professional counselors, students-in-training, and clients measuring perceived stigma of substance use disorder. However, significant differences were found among the groups on a measure of socially desirable responding, which may indicate participants' responses were socially biased. Implications of the study and recommendations for future research are provided.


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