AQA Addiction Revision Guide

This was created using my teachers booklet and the AQA complete textbook. Please not that despite attempting to create an accurate revision guide, this does not include everything you need in your exam. And other materials will need to be used alongside this.

Hope this helps.

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A2 Psychology Revision
The Psychology of Addictive Behavior

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Biological Models of Addiction

McGue (1999) found that genes contribute to the development of alcohol dependence, with heritability
estimates from 5060% for both men and women.

Noble et al (1991) found that the A1 variant of the DRD2 (Dopamine Receptor) was present in more
than 2/3 of…

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Synoptic Psychology is a science. stimuli, reducing their desire for an artificial

Synoptic Deterministic, Reductionist.

Cognitive Models of Addiction

Initiation ­ Individuals think that the drug is helping with their current problems. Research indicates
that these drugs are specifically chosen for their effects (e.g.…

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Evaluation of The Expectancy Theory

Strengths Limitations
Leigh (1987) found that the more favourably This theory does not explain why addicts
people evaluated the impairment effects of experience a loss of control (which is
drinking, the greater their overall alcohol use. presented in all other theories). It only focuses

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The Learning Models of Addiction

Initiation ­ 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).…

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throughout western and nonwestern


Initiation ­ This involves the use of secondary reinforcers. An unconditional stimuli (e.g. sitting with
friends) produces an unconditional response (e.g. feeling relaxed). If this unconditional stimuli is then
frequently paired with an conditioned stimuli (e.g. smoking), then it too will…

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results in repeated use and any negative events results in the individual having a decrease likelihood
of taking the drug).

Maintenance ­ According to West (2006) drugs have both positive and negative effects, this creates
an approachavoidance conflict (the drugs motivate users to seek the drug, while they also want…

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feeling of pleasure, but only for a shortperiod, once past the smoker then experiences withdrawal
symptoms, alleviated by smoking another cigarette.

Socioeconomic Status and Nicotine Addiction ­ Research into smoking trends in the UK, found
that smoking was associated with social and economic disadvantage, with poorer smokers tending to

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gamblers entertain the risk of monetary loss for the positive reinforcement produced by high arousal
and winning.

Blaszczynski et al (1990) found that poor tolerance for boredom may contribute towards repetitive
gambling behaviour. They also found gamblers had significantly higher boredom proneness scores
than a control group of nongamblers.


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Research has found that low selfesteem may cause people to behave in self defeating ways to
escape self awareness (e.g. drinking to increase confidence). Taylor (2007) analysed a sample of
over 800 boys over a nine year period and found that those with low selfesteems when they…


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