A2 psychology addiction

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  • Created by: Alix
  • Created on: 06-04-16 14:11

The biological Approach


Initiation: Could be influenced by genetics; so therefore could be pathological and run through families. Evidence from Black et al found that 1st degree relatives of pathological gamblers were more likely to suffer from pathological gambling than more distant relatives = strong genetic link

Maintenance: Sensation seeking!! Zuckerman found that there are indivi.diffs between needs of optimal amounts of stimulation. Sensation seekers look for novel, varied experiences. And high sensation seekers - dont appreciate risk, and think arousal is more positiove than low sensation seekers.     

                  OR....Paris et al found that pathological gambling may be associated with an underactive pituitary-adrenal response to gambling.

Relapse:Boredom avoidance - noticeablly a person who needs intense mental stimulation and excitement in their lives.

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The biological Approach (continued)


Initiation:Family and twin studies have shown that heritability of tabacco smoking (between 39-80%). Could also be influenced by other environmental factors.

Maintenance:nicotine has effects on the brain by activating nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in the brain - which in turn, releases dopamine; making the individual experience short-lived pleasures. As these nicotine levels drop, an impairment of mood sets in, and concentration becomes reduced.

Relapase: Linked to genetics also. Xian et al found that the inability to quit could be attributed to heritability, found through a twin study.

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The cognitive approach

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The cognitive approach (continued)

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The learning approach


Initiation:Operant conditioning - behaviour produces a consquence that the individual finds rewarding, which then becomes more frequent. May become addicted .ecause of Physiological rewards (a buzz from winning), Psychological rewards (the near miss), Social rewards (peer praise) or Financial rewards

Maintenance: Intermittent reinforcement- people continue to gamble becaue of the ocassional reinforcement. For long periods, wont be rewarded, and then their gambling behaviour is ocassionally reinforced due to a payout. Social approval - reinforced by family members and friends, who approve of the behaviour - so more likely to gamble more, and continue doing so in the future.

Relapse: Conditioned cues - classical conditioning (learn to associate stimuli with their gambling behaviour. e.g. sights and sounds of a casino - act as triggers for the behaviour. period of abstinence - more likely to relapse if exposed to conditioned cues.

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The learning approach (continued)


Initiation: role model availability - surrounded by social model who smoke - more liekly to experimental smoke. Parental and peer role modelling, vicarious reinforcement = young people expect positive physical and social consquences from the smoking. Popularity!!! - positive reinforer for the behaviour

Maintenance: conditioned association - between the sensory features of smoking (sight, smell) and the reinforcing effects of nicotine. smoking sensory cues bcome conditioned cues quickly and activate the same areas of the brain as the reinforcing effects of nicotine - which makes stopping even more diffcult

Relapse:conditioned cues - cues like the availability of the cigrettes, the smell of smoke - the smoker is more likely to respond by smoking. craving will significantly increase. Reduced self efficacy - less self-belief that they are able to abstain from the behaviour

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Risk factors (i)

Everyday stress - daily hassles (finanical, relationship, job), addiction is used to deal with these hassles = explains intiation and maintenance of addiction. A02 - NIDA found that these hassels contribute to the initation and maintenance, but also relapse, aftr long periods of abstinence.

Severe stress - exposed to severe stress = more vunerable (child abuse, parental loss, PTS disorder) A02 - DRIESSEN ET AL found that 30% of drug dealers and 15% of alcoholics had suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Peer Pressure - SLT- behaviours are learnt through observations of others, modelling behaviour, self efficacy and vicarious reinforcement. And Social identity theory - group members adopt the social orms of the group, that are central to the social identity of that certain group. A02 - MCALISTER ET AL found that peers encourage and approve each other's behaviour and actions, which sends the message fruther out into the group - that the behaviour is an activity that promotes popularity, and therefore, social status.

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Risk factors (ii)

Age - social crowd/peers - influences early adolescence, best friend/romantic partner plays a greater role later on in life. A02- BROWN ET AL found that the influence of peers on smoking and drug use reduce in later adolescence, and the role of close friends and romantic partners become much more important in influencing attitudes and behaviours; especially those that are health related.

Personality type - Extraversion-introversion = always under-aroused and seek stimluation Neuroticism - high in neuroticism, so experience negative effects like depression and anxiety Psychoticism - hositility and impulsivity

A02- CLONIGER proposed that there were 3 different personality traits that predispose individuals towards substance dependencies 1) novelty seeking - engage in new experiences 2) harm avoidance - worrying/being pessimistic 3) reward dependence - the extent to which an individual learns from a rewarding experience and whether or not they will repeat the behaviour.

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Influences of media

A01 - highlights negative effects - individual is aware/put off by the effects - this could be through television (public health campaigns targeted at drinking and smoking) A02 - Bennett et al - particpants watched a BBC doc regarding alcohol, others were a matched control. Their alcohol knowledge increased, but there was no change in attitudes or behaviour.

- glamourizes substance abuse by showing celebritites doing it eg. on the news, in magazines, newspaper headlines - makes an indiviudal feel like they have the power/ability to do it (SLT!!!)

- however, can actually raise self efficacy!!! can provide them with the belief that they are able to stop the behaviour successfully. A02 - research from Hornik et al found that amongst US national anti-drug campaigns- they were aiming to educate indiviudals to stop the behaviour, by increasing their resistance skills and raising self efficacy.

A02- difficulties in establishing cause and effect relationships - due to correlational studies

- other influences (peers and parents)

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Theory of planned behaviour (i)


- a decision can be predicted by an individual's intention

intentions can be formed by:

- behavioural attitude - individual's own attitude towards the behaviour - formed on their beliefs of the consquences.

- sujective norms - individual's awareness of the social norms relating to that behaviour, formed by what people think about the behaviour and whether or not these people actually do the behaviour.

- Perceived behavioural attitude - amount of control the individual holds to whether or not they will resist the behaviour, or relapse back to the behaviour. more control they think they have = will try harder and persevre for longer than someone with low perceived control.

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Theory of planned behaviour (ii)

Using this model for addiction prevention...

- Changing behavioural attitude: Previously, campaigns in the media had focused on the risks of abuse, but not many teenagers avoid risks. ONDCP campaign aimed to create a different attitude towards the effects of marijuana use.

- Changing subjective norms: Anti-drug campaigns often use real data to show teenagers the actual percentage of young people engaging in the behaviour. This should change/show them how little percentage of the population their age actually display the behaviour, which should alter their social norms.

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Biological interventions

A01- Methadone: used to treat heroin addictions. Mimics effects of heroin, but is much less addictive. Initially = prescribed slowly increasing amounts of methodone. Then slowly decreased, until the addict no longer needs either.

A02 - People can become just as addicted to methadone, as they were with heroin = substituting one addiction for another. Methadone is currently controversial, majority of addicts are unsupervised when they are taking it, which has led to the formation of a black market of methadone doses, some being sold for as little as £2 - strong ethical implications

A01 - SSRIs (antidepressants): increase serotonin levels -HOLLANDER ET AL found that gambers who were treated with SSRI's, to increase serotonin level, showed significant improvements, compared to a control group.

A02 - Hollander's study however had a very small smaple size of only 10 p's, and a relatively short duration (only 4 months) - lacks external validity/generalisibility.

Blanco et al: replicated a similar study, involving 32 gamblers, for 6 month period - didnt find that SSRIs were any more effective than a placebo.

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Psychological interventions

A01- Reinforcement: involves giving people rewards for not participating in the behaviour.

A02 - effectiveness of treatment has been shown, however, reinforcement does not directly address the problem which has caused the behaviour in the first place. Reduces likelihood of specific addiciton, but the individual may then simply begin engaging in another addiction.

A01- CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy): formed on the basis that addictive behaviours are maintained by the person's thoughts about the behaviour. CBT aims to alter the way people think about the behaviour, and to learn new ways of dealing with the problems that led to the addiction in the first place. Attempts to correct these errors in thinking.

A02 - Ladouceur et al found that those particpants who received CBT to help with their pathological gambling, and completed the treatment, no longer fulfilled the DSM's critera of a pathological gambler, and were found to have higher levels of control over the behaviour, and increased self-efficacy - and these improvements were still maintained after a 1 year follow up.

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Public health interventions

A01 - legislations - banning smoking in pubs/other public areas

quitline services

"stoptober" - government funded nhs services

A02- again, does not address the underlying problem. can only advise/show statistics.

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