Psychology of Addictive Behaviour (whole topic)

Full notes plus research on the whole of this topic for PSYA4 (extremely helpful!)

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  • Created by: Ben Green
  • Created on: 19-01-13 14:01
Preview of Psychology of Addictive Behaviour (whole topic)

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Models of addictive behavior:
- Biological, Cognitive and learning models (initiation, maintenance and
- Explanations for specific addictions (smoking and gambling)
Factors affecting addictive behavior:
- Vulnerability to addiction (Stress, peers, age and personality)
- The role of the media in addictive behavior
Reducing addictive behavior:
- Model of Prevention (Theory of planned behavior)
- Types of intervention (public health etc.)

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Biological model for addiction
Lerman, Kendler & Merikangas all suggested that there is a link between
addiction and genetics through different studies. Lerman found that there
seemed to be a link between tobacco smoking and genes that were involved in
dopamine regulation. Kendler (who also did a twin study with regards to
) Estimated the heritability of nicotine dependence was between 60-70% in
twins.…read more

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Theories involving biochemical explanations are extremely determinist (no
change for the person)
- Argument for reductionist theory that the neurotransmitter process etc. is
simplified and not fully understood.
- More research needs to be conducted as to why people may `dabble' in drugs
or drink but don't become addicted.
- All the biological research involves correlational studies so it is impossible
to identify what is a cause or effect of a particular addiction.…read more

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Social Learning Theory states that instead of non-human behavioral
ideologies, addiction is derived from complex perceptual and reasoning skills
of humans. For example if you see someone important in your life (parents,
friends) drinking and enjoying this process it appears to you that it can be
attractive and rewarding. We do not need to directly experience the
consequences of any given behavior but instead learn through observation.…read more

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As with all cognitive studies it is hard to identify whether negative thinking
causes addiction or addiction causes negative thinking (cause and effect).
+ These ideas suggest that people can change the way they think (free will).
+ Cognitive models have been the basis of some very helpful therapies for
+/- As with pretty much every model they are at their most useful on a larger
holistic scale as supposed to on their own.…read more

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Lehrman et al = found that when someone abstained from smoking for one
night there was an increased blood flow to their brains associated with
memory, attention and reward.
GAMBLING: Initiation
Black et al = found that first-degree relatives of pathological gamblers were
more likely to suffer from pathological gambling than more distant relatives.
- Others factor could be SLT.
Comings et al = found that pathological gamblers were more likely to carry a
certain gene (D2A1).…read more

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Behavior may begin because smoking is associated with desirable outcomes
originally, to expand the reward initially may be craving social acceptance due
to peer pressure and normative influence.
DiBlasio and Bersha = found that peer group influences were the primary
influence for adolescents who start to smoke.
Mayeux et al = found a correlation between smoking and popularity 2 years
- Only males and it is correlation (cause/effect).…read more

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In the same vein as smoking gamblers relapse according to learning theory
because of cue reactivity, which is where they will be reminded and forced to
gamble by cravings because of their environment particularly with the easy
way in which people can gamble (from their computers and the national
lottery).…read more

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Self-efficacy, using smoking to cope with stress and expectancy of the damage
it will do can all be used to explain relapse of smoking!
Tate et al = found that a group of people who were told to expect no negative
experiences during a period of abstinence from smoking experienced fewer
psychological and physical effects than those who were not primed.…read more

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It is important to note there is very little research into personality and
addiction however FRANCIS'S works is extremely convincing. He found that
people with alcohol and drug addiction had higher than normal scores in the
Psychoticism and Neuroticism personalities.…read more


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