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Thesis ABSTRACT

Predictors of causal attribution of alcohol to injury in shock trauma patients who were drinking at the time of injury
by Schlundt Malfi, Debra L., M.A., University of Maryland Baltimore County, 2006

Alcohol has been implicated as a contributing factor to severe injuries throughout the literature.  One important factor involved in intervening with alcohol abuse is the degree to which the individuals themselves attribute their injuries to alcohol use.  The goal of this study was to identify what factors are important in determining the degree to which a person attributes responsibility for their injuries to alcohol, using a secondary data set.  This study examined attribution of responsibility to alcohol for injuries with 369 shock trauma patients admitted with injuries acquired while drinking alcohol who were participating in the DELTA project, an NIAAA-funded intervention study.  The results of the study suggest that the predictors which most influence this type of attribution are the acknowledgement of other alcohol-related life problems, frequency of alcohol use, past alcohol-related injuries from intentional violence, race and sex. The demographic variables age and education level, as well as a family history of alcohol problems, impulsivity, past alcohol-related unintentional injuries, the type of accident that occurred and quantity of alcohol use did not predict participant attribution.  This study supports the role of several factors for influencing the degree to which someone attributes responsibility to alcohol when that individual is involved in an alcohol-related accident.  This is an important first step toward understanding attribution of responsibility to alcohol in a population of at risk drinkers.  Future studies should continue to explore other potentially influential factors and identify how these factors can be utilized in intervention and prevention efforts in trauma units.