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Psychology of Addictive Behaviour
Theory of Planned Behaviour
The Theory of Planned Behaviour - Azjen (1989) created an explanatory framework for
understanding the processes that lead to addiction, but also as a means to understand prevention
1. Behavioural Attitude
2. Subjective Norms Intention Behaviour
3. Perceived Behavioural Control
Changing Behavioural Attitude
o Individuals attitudes towards the behaviour and beliefs of consequences of
o Slater et al (2011) suggested that targeting attitudes is key to the success of
anti-drug campaigns. US Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) launched
a campaign to lower teenage marijuana use. The campaign created different
attitudes towards the effects of drugs and achieving aspirations this is thought to
be why it was successful.
Changing Subjective Norms
o Individuals subjective awareness of norms relating to behaviour e.g. injunctive
norm (perceived right thing to do) and descriptive norm (what others actually do).
o Wilson and Kolander (2003) found that anti-drug campaigns seek to give
adolescents actual data about the percentage of people engaging in drug taking
behaviour. Accurate statistical information corrects subjective norms and
contributes to an effective campaign.
Changing Perceived Behavioural Control
o The more control people believe they have over behaviour, the stronger their
intentions to perform will be.
o Godin et al (2002) examined the extent to which the TPB could explain smoking
intentions and behaviour in adults intending to quit smoking. Data was collected
using questionnaires and also at home using trained interviewers. Participants
were surveyed at the start of the study and again 6 months later. Researchers
found three elements of TPB that helped to explain intentions of smoking
behaviour (3 elements = behavioural attitudes, subjective norms and perceived
behaviour control) - Where perceived behavioural control was the most important
predictor of actual behaviour. Therefore, the prevention programmes should help
smokers to focus on the will power required to give up smoking.
o Self-efficacy has been shown to be important in many aspects of addiction
prevention, such as relapse prevention programmes.
o Majer et al (2004) found that encouraging an addict's belief in their ability to
abstain was related to optimism and ultimately a positive outcome. They
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Using The Internet
o The internet is being used increasingly to promote health behaviour change such
as giving up smoking or quitting gambling.
o Webb et al (2010) analysed 85 studies of interventions, and concluded that those
based on a theoretical model tended to have greater success. This suggests that
the Theory of Planned Behaviour can have an important role in the development
of internet prevention programmes.…read more