Measuring factors that influence the response of medical practitioners and social workers to problem drinkers: a pilot study Academic Article uri icon


  • It is increasingly recognized that factors such as professionals' empathy, willingness to intervene, self-efficacy and role legitimacy influence the initial engagement of clients into treatment and the nature of any subsequent therapeutic relationship. These factors are difficult to measure using questionnaires, and for this reason qualitative research techniques are frequently used in this field of inquiry. The present methodological study is based on in-depth interviews conducted with 16 medical practitioners and 12 social workers, and attempts to overcome one of the main limitations associated with qualitative data-that is, the difficulty of reducing such complex material to a numerical value suitable for quantitative analysis. The interview technique and rating system described were most successful in achieving this in the case of self-efficacy and least successful in the case of empathy. Possible reasons for this are discussed. It is concluded that the technique described has the potential to elicit detailed data concerning the interactions of medical practitioners and social workers with problem drinkers, and that this material can be reliably rated in a manner that is not unduly time-consuming and burdensome to researchers.

author list (cited authors)

  • GORMAN, D. M., JACOBS, L. M., & McALPINE, D.

citation count

  • 7

publication date

  • July 1994