Psychological Distress, Family Functioning and Use of Psychoactive Substances in Administrative Workers of an Institution of Higher Education in Nicaragua

Alinka Patricia Avendaño Balladares

Introduction: Professionals in the field of mental health and addictions try to identify situations that cause psychoactive substances use in the population, especially the working population, due to this affects all areas of human well-being. Many people when they suffer psychological distress and problems in family functioning, they used psychoactive substances as a way of coping with the emotional burden of the day. In countries like Nicaragua, interest in mental health and psychosocial well-being of the working population, has little concern among health authorities, the labor unions and even the workers themselves. The purpose of this research was to answer the question: What level of psychological distress and family functioning presented administrative workers of a University of Higher Education in Nicaragua, according to their use of psychoactive substances between May and August 2015?

Methods: This study was cross-sectional analytical, involved a sample of 240 workers, using random probability sampling. The information collected was processed using SPSS.

Results: 61.7% of the samples were women and the average age of the participants was 36 to 49 years. The results revealed the presence of levels of psychological distress (39.9%) and moderate family functioning (42.9%), while the substances used in the last 12 months were 86.7%, mainly alcohol, tobacco and sedatives/ sleeping pills. Moreover, a relationship between psychological distress and family functioning (vp=.001.) and among the use of psychoactive substances in the last 12 months (vp=.051 and vp=.001 respectively) was found. Likewise, there was an association between psychological distress and high-risk use tobacco and sedatives in the last 3 months (vp=.022 and vp=.029 respectively) as well as an connection between the level of family functioning and high risk consumption of alcohol during the same time (vp=.083).

Conclusions: It concludes that there is a relationship between the level of psychological distress and family functioning as well with high-risk consumption. It is recommended to universities to take action and recognize the most used substances and correlations between variables and to workers, it is recommended to make use of professional resources in mental health institutions of the city.

This abstract was submitted to the 2017 Society for Prevention Research Annual Meeting.

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