Cognitive Model of Addiction

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  • Created by: rhallett
  • Created on: 16-01-16 12:06
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  • Cognitive Model of Addiction
    • 1) Expectancy Theory
      • Argues that addictive behaviours are initiated and maintained partly b/c of the positive expectations the person has about the effects of the behaviour. Eg, smokers may expect that a cigarette will relax them, which is why they smoke. Gamblers often expect to win money.
        • +Walters & Contri - studied male American prisoners, found that those identified as problem gamblers has significantly more positive expectations eg, gambling makes me feel important/expert compared to non-gamblers
    • 2) Irrational Behaviour
      • Irrational thinking may maintain addictive behaviour eg gamblers believe they will eventually win, and young smokers may think it makes them 'cool' and this causes them to do the behaviour. Researchers have studied irrational thinking by looking at 'self-talk'
        • +Griffiths studied the verbalisations of regular gamblers as they played fruit machines and found that compared to non-regular gamblers they: 1) Believed they were more skillful than they actually were 2) Explained their losses by seeing them as 'near wins' which justified their continuing
    • 3) Theory of Planned Behaviour
      • Models of Prevention eg TPB are theories that try to understand the factors that influence people's addictive behaviours so they can be helped to change and stop doing them. According to TPB 3 factors influence addictive behaviour:
        • 1) Person's own attitudes to the behaviour- based of their beliefs, experiences and evaluations of it
        • 2) How they believe their social group eg peers view ti and how important they feel it is to comply with them - called their Subjective Norm
        • 3) The person's own perceived behavioral control, PCB, or self-efficacy; the person's own beliefs about their ability to do the action or stop it.
      • The first two factors may explain why people initiate an addictive behaviour. Eg if someone has a positive attitude to smoking and thinks their peers approve of it, they will be more likely to do it.
        • A low level of PBC might explain why people maintain an addiction or relapse. If a person doesn't believe that they can stop smoking, they won't even try.
      • +Conner - studied 675 adolescents using a questionnaire that measured teh 3 factors described by TPB - and found that these factors predicted who would start smoking over a 9 month period
        • +Moore - did similar research to Conner and found attitudes of Subjective Norms could predict gambling behaviour
          • -However, one meta analysis found that TPB was good at predicting people's intentions, but not their actual behaviour
    • 4) Cognitive Myopia
      • Gamblers and smokers often place a higher priority on present excitement than of future consequences - called Cognitive Myopia Could also explain smoking because people focus on short term enjoyment not long term harms
    • Explains addiction in terms of cognitive processes such as thoughts, beliefs and perceptions


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