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Alcohol Misuse as a Response to Perceived Powerlessness in the Organization
The relationship between the perceived characteristics of a job and employee alcoholism was examined. Research has determined that it is a perceived lack of power that better distinguishes an alcoholic from a nonalcoholic, and that such a perceived lack of power causes an alcoholic to suffer frustration because of the inability to feel competent and self-determining. The job has been shown to influence psychological functioning in all aspects of an individual’s life, and specific job characteristics which contribute to feelings of competence and self-determination were studied. These included ( 1 ) personal power in the organizational hierarchy, ( 2 ) participation in decision making, ( 3 ) job autonomy and ( 4 ) job responsibility. Regression analysis of data from questionnaires administered to 293 full-time employees demonstrated significant F ratios for perceived job responsibility and perceived lack of personal power in the organization when regressed against the CAGE questionnaire, which identified covert alcoholics. These data support the notion that aspects of the job are associated with and may help to induce alcoholism among employees.