Influencing alcohol and drug policy: political participation and its predictors among addiction professionals
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This study aimed to identify the type, extent, and predictors of civic and political participation among addiction professionals. A sample of 633 addiction professionals participated in an online survey using the Citizen Participation Study’s survey instrument. Twenty-two political activities were measured as well as three predictors of political participation: resources, psychological engagement, and recruitment networks. Political participation and predictors of participation were analyzed for the full sample and compared among subgroups--social workers vs. those who were not social workers; those who reported they were recovering from alcohol and other drug (AOD) addiction vs. those who were not recovering; and those who held a professional addiction certification vs. those who were not certified and those who were certified plus held other professional credentials. The mean political participation index for participants who were not certified was significantly lower than for participants with a certification and those with a certification plus other professional credentials. No significant difference was noted in the mean political participation index for recovering participants and those not recovering from AOD addiction; and social workers and participants who were not social workers. Hierarchical multiple regression was used to assess the influence of resources, psychological engagement, and recruitment networks on political participation while controlling for recovery status, professional credentials, age, race, and gender. Resources, psychological engagement, and recruitment networks were all significant predictors of political participation. Recruitment networks was the strongest predictor for the full sample and for subgroups who were not social workers, certified, not certified, certified with other professional credentials, and not recovering from AOD addiction. Psychological engagement was the strongest predictor of political participation among individuals recovering from AOD addiction and social workers. However, the validation analysis did not replicate the findings for social workers, those not recovering from AOD addiction, and those who were certified. The significant role of recruitment networks in political participation has important implications for social workers and others interested in mobilizing addiction professionals for political participation. Recommendations for further research include the need to develop valid and reliable measures of political participation that capture civic activities and the use of technology.