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Web-Based Supervisor Training: Dealing with Employee Drug and Alcohol Abuse

Award Information

Department of Health and Human Services
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2010 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 2
Fiscal Year: 2010
Title: Web-Based Supervisor Training: Dealing with Employee Drug and Alcohol Abuse
Agency: HHS
Contract: 2R44DA023296-02A2
Award Amount: $1,395,108.00


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Alcohol and drug (AOD) abuse by employees causes many costly problems for business and industry including absenteeism, injuries, health insurance claims, loss of productivity, employee morale, theft, and fatalities. The loss to companies in the United States totals 184.6 billion a year. There are 150 million Americans in the labor force, of whom 10.5 percent of the full-time employed adults and 11.9 percent of the part-time employed adults were classified with substance dependence or abuse. An estimated 7.06 percent of the workforce used alcohol at least once during the workday, and 8.10 percent of the workforce used alcohol at least once either before work or during the workday. Supervisors are key members of the work g roup that can influence a co-worker to seek assistance through their employee assistance program or health plan benefit. Research has identified perceived barriers for supervisors including dysfunctional tolerance, enabling, problem minimization, and neutr alization of deviance. Supervisor confidence has also been identified as a major factor in program implementation, including referring employees for appropriate assistance. There is considerable evidence to suggest that conventional supervisor training has not resulted in long-term sustainable outcomes in the workplace. The long term objective of the proposed project is to develop an interactive web-based supervisor training program that will: (1) reduce supervisor's tolerance for alcohol misuse and other d rug use in the workplace, (2) increase supervisors' ability to effectively respond to workplace performance and behavior problems associated with the abuse of alcohol and other drugs (AOD), and (3) increase the incidence of early intervention for troubled employees. The finished product will be an interactive Web-based training program designed to address the shortcomings of conventional AOD supervisor trainings. We will adapt a state-of-the-art empirically-validated supervisor training curriculum, and use a proven-effective conceptual framework that is solidly based in behavioral management theory. We will incorporate principles of adult learning, current research on transfer of training, and proven-effective instructional design principles specific to e-Le arning. In Phase I, we developed and tested a prototype of our proposed Web-based IMM training program and found significant effects and a high feasibility of success. In Phase II, we will develop the full-scope training program, and evaluate it in a large randomized trial. To accomplish the goals of Phase II, we propose three specific aims: (1) To determine optimal program characteristics, features and content desired by key stakeholders by collecting formative data, (2) develop a Web-based supervisor trai ning program using an iterative development process, and (3) determine efficacy by evaluating the supervisor training program in a randomized trial with 334 supervisors. 1 PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: Substance abuse remains one of the nation's most imp ortant public health problems. It results in many costly problems to our health care system and contributes to or causes more than 70 conditions that require hospitalization. Additionally, substance abuse complicates the treatment of most illnesses, prolon gs hospital stays, increases morbidity, and sharply raises health care costs. Alcohol and other drug use creates a 184.6 billion loss for employers in productivity, absenteeism, injuries, employee morale, theft, increased health insurance claims, and fata lities.

Principal Investigator:

Vicky Gelatt

Business Contact:

Elixabeth M. Greene
Small Business Information at Submission:


EIN/Tax ID: 193109346
Number of Employees: N/A
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No