the purpose of this exploratory study was to discover nurses' attitudes towards the perceptions of personal characteristics of alcoholics. nurses' attitudes were measuared using the seaman-manello scale, the sample consisted of 171 nurses who work in a university general hospital located in the state of s？o paulo, brazil. the results evidenced that more than half of the sample (52.4%) had a professional experience with alcoholics. nurses see the alcoholic patients as unhappy, lonely, sensitive people, who doubt their own value and have serious emotional problems. it is concluded that nurses' attitudes toward personal characteristics of alcoholic patients tend to be positive and suggests greater attention to professional training in recognition and approach of the alcoholic in general hospitals.