Addiciton AQA a

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A2 Psychology Revision
The Psychology of Addictive Behaviour
The DSM criteria for an addiction:
Loss of control
Progressive increase in the instance of the addiction occurring
Continuation of addiction despite negative outcomes.
Biological Models of Addiction
MODEL ONE: GENETICS
Heath and Madden reviewed the evidence from national twin studies in Scandinavia and Australia. They argued that
genetic factors increased both the likelihood of becoming a regular smoker and becoming a long term smoker.
True et al found that genetic factors accounted for 50% of the risk of smoking and environmental factors for a further
30% of the risk.
Shah et al (2005) used adult participants and found that there was evidence of genetic transmission in gambling of
men.
Black et al (2006) found that the first degree relatives of pathological gamblers were more likely to suffer from
pathological gambling than more distant relatives, which demonstrates a strong genetic link.
Zuckerman (1979) claims reward of high arousal from winning and uncertainty/excitement of process of gambling fulfils
the needs of some personality types. Evidence of poor tolerance of boredom in gamblers which could then be linked to
the dopamine explanation.
Specific genes have been found to be responsible for addiction: A1 variant of DRD2 receptor gene (means there
are fewer dopamine receptors in the pleasure centres of the brain ­ so less dopamine is being picked up. Dopamine
makes you feel good. To compensate for the lack of dopamine people selfmedicate with chemicals that increase
dopamine ­ these include nicotine).
Evaluation of Genetics
Strengths Limitations
Explains why some individuals are more resistant to Individual differences: genes can explain why those
treatment and more likely to relapse. who have the same environmental experiences do not
Scientific methods used to show this therefore more become addicted. Some are more venerable to
reliable and therefore they have higher addiction and therefore stress diathesis model should
genraliseability. be used. Genetic vulnerability also explains why some
The gambling method is good because it considers are more likely to relapse than others.
the biological approach as well as the genetics Twin studies have flaws in methodology.
approach. Comings et al: DRD2 is the `reward gene' even
though it is present in autism and Tourette's. (Gene
present in 45% Tourette's people compared with the
25% of controls that were used. Therefore is it really
the reward gene? People with autism and Tourette's
are not thought to be particularly pleasure seeking.
Huge gender bias in all gambling addiction studies.
Slutske (2000) found that gambling addiction was
due 64% due to genetics and the rest was
environmental, stress diathesis model.

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Expectation that gamblers should be "sensation
seekers" is not consistently supported by research
Coventry and Brown (1993) say that offcourse
betting on horse races ­ lower sensation seekers than
nongamblers. BUT casino gamblers were higher
sensation seekers than average.
Bonnaire et al ­ identified 2 distinct types of
gamblers ­ those who do it for arousal and those who
do it to avoid boredom.
MODEL TWO: THE ROLE OF DOPAMINE (THE DISEASE MODEL)
Initiation ­ Rewarding experiences (e.g.…read more

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Hackam and Redelmeier 2006, say that animal
studies rarely replicate human research, even high
quality studies.
Cognitive Models of Addiction
MODEL ONE: THE SELFMEDICATION MODEL
Initiation ­ Gelkopf et al 2002, suggests that individuals use drugs to treat the psychological symptoms that they
suffer from. Individuals think that the drug is helping with their current problems. Research indicates that these drugs are
specifically chosen for their effects (e.g. anxiety and nicotine).…read more

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Publication Bias only selecting the positive
information to publish rather than any negative
information. So there is contradictory data but it is not
published which lowers reliability.
Addiction or consumption? Most research is looking
at consumption, rather than loss of control (which is
addiction) and therefore lacks validity. The research
looks at the `problematic behaviour' rather than loss of
control.
MODEL THREE: THE RATIONAL CHOICE THEORY
West 2006 The activity only appears to be out of control (i.e.…read more

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The Learning Models of Addiction
MODEL ONE: OPERANT CONDITIONING (learning through reinforcement)
Initiation (the role of positive reinforcement) ­ A behaviour is repeated if it is rewarded in one of two ways through
positive reinforcement (a desirable consequence e.g. feeling relaxed, increases the level of dopamine) or through negative
reinforcement (the removal of unpleasant consequences e.g. withdrawal symptoms). All positive reinforcers have the
same physiological effect they increase dopamine in the mesolimbic system (an area of the brain).…read more

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Relapse ­ If an individual comes into contact with one of the cues (secondary reinforcers) there is an increase likelihood
of relapse occurring. Smoker smokes, and therefore nicotine enters the body. Then the body tries to maintain
equilibrium. Any stimuli that come before the smoking (e.g. going outside or eating a meal) will become conditioned
stimulus as the body will expect to smoke.…read more

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Risk Factors in the Development of Addiction.
EXPLANATION ONE: SELFESTEEM
Stress:
NIDA (1999) shows that addiction is usually developed as a way to deal with daily hassles, such as relationship
problems, money worries and workplace stress. Such stressors can contribute to initiation and continuation of addictions
as well as relapse after a long period of abstinence.
Driessen et al (2008) shows that people who are exposed to severe stress are more venerable to addictions.…read more

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Cloniger (1987) Tridimensional theory of addictive behaviour: 3 personality traits that predispose individuals to
towards substance dependence.
Novelty seeking: trying to engage in new experiences
Harm avoidance: includes worrying and being pessimistic
Reward dependence: the extent to which an individual learns quickly from rewarding experiences and repeats
the behaviours that they have been rewarded for.
Evaluation
of Risk
Factors in
the
Developm
ent of
Addiction
Strengths Limitations
Stress Hajek et al (2010) Stress may be a risk
factor.…read more

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Personalit Belin et al (2008) placed rats in a device Causality: Most studies are correlation only. It
y where they could administer cocaine to doesn't prove if the personality causes a certain
themselves. One group of rats were sensation behaviour or if they are simply correlated and just
seekers and they started taking high doses of happen together. Teeson et al (2002) said that it
the drug immediately.…read more

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The
casino's
uses
this
evidence
to trick
and
seduce
people
into
playing
based
on
"researc
h".
Ethical
issues
in
addicti
on
researc
h: Lee
(1993)
people
may not
be
100%
honest
as it is
SSR
and this
may
mean
that
they
conform
to the
SD's
that are
upon
them.
Also
they
don't
want to
admit to
any
illegal
behaviou
rs (e.g.…read more

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