Health Psychology

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Animals (Lab Studies)

A01

  • Strong controls such as environment, care, type of animal and state
  • Those into drug research commonly use mice and rats where an IV like drug and dose is compared with a control group
  • An example of this is Klein et al (2008) - found genetic link to the experience of withdrawal symptoms from heroin in mice
  • Quantitative measures are used to determine how much of the drugs need to be taken
  • Qualitative data may be used to measure behaviour affected by drugs
  • Despite the testing nature, appropriate feeding and caging is still necessary
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Animals (Lab Studies)

A02

  • Can be used to back up conclusions and results found using human studies - reliability
  • Evidence for the biological explanation
  • We can carry out studies that may not have been possbile on humans 
  • There are differences in brain structures between mice and humans meaning we cannot fully generalise results
  • Human studies show how it may be important to look at other factors other than drug taking
  • Human studies are evidence for the io psychosocial model which suggests that with complex human behaviour there are complex causes
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Interviews

A01

  • Structured interviews are similar to questionnaires - standardised and must not deviate. Exact responses are recorded collecting both qualitative and quantitative data
  • By collecting quantitative data we can look at drug quantities
  • By collecting qualitative data we can gather information on environment, triggers and frequency of drug use
  • Semi structured interviews use set questions but allow little deviation to explore particular issues - gives scope for adding necessary topics like environmental factors
  • Unstructured interviews have general questions but explore issues more fully
  • Unstructured interviews can look at reasons behind sensitive and unique cases that may not otherwise be explored in structured
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Interviews

A02

  • Unstructured interviews are helpful for understanding situations with peer pressure
  • We can explore all aspects like nature, nurture, pressures, family and genetics
  • Scientific methods where controls are required tend to work against validity - produce artificial aspects
  • Interviewees may give bias due to social desirability
  • Unstructured interviews cannot gathe rlarge amounts of similar information for drug abuse
  • The issue of drug use is sensitive meaning many may not own up to interviewers about their use
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Questionnaires

A01

  • We can collect information about different aspects like background, family and triggers
  • Questionaires include set open and closed questions and personal data questions
  • They can be postal, face to face or web based but cant be too long 
  • Closed questions are more suitable for people who are apprehensive about questions on drugs
  • Online questionaires avoid social desirability bias
  • Can gather information from mixture of socioeconomic backgrounds, areas and ages
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Questionnaires

A02

  • Using open questions allow for well rounded account of drug use
  • Open questions giving qualitative data capture views - tend to be valid
  • If questions are in same format for all participants they are then replicable and can be tested for reliability
  • Using closed questions may miss out vital triggers or aspects that influences drug use
  • There could be some bias from questionaire which will cause unreliability
  • Closed questions giving quantitative data may miss out what respondents really want to say - tend not to be valid
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Biochemical Explanation

A01

  • Drugs act like neurotransmitters which either block (slows nerve impulses by blocking receptors) mimic (mimics to increase nerve impulses) or prevent re-uptake (increases impulses to prevent recycling)
  • It alters our biological state and action in the brain
  • These drugs will alter our mood and behaviour through the use of dopamine which causes pleasure and serotonin which causes emotion
  • Our body learns to function with the drug and so becomes tolerant and without it we cant function normally and so take more causing our physiological dependence
  • Eventually the drug taking is done to prevent physical withdrawal symptoms like nausea and the pleasure effect of dopamine isnt present any more
  • Each drug can effect stimulation of neurotransmitters and stimulation of the synapses which will recieve the neurotransmitter
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Modelling

A01

  • Based on the principles of operant conditioning and observational learning where reinforcements and punishments explain how characteristics may be learned
  • There are a series of stages involved in modelling - Bandura (1977) described we are likely to catch attention of a particular drug behaviour once observed, will retain this and reproduce to their maximum ability. Finally there must be a motivation for them to reproduce the behaviour
  • Observational learning also looks at punishment – if an individual sees another getting sentenced to imprisonment for drugs, they are less likely to take them themselves in order to prevent the same effect
  • There are also a series of factors that determine whether or not a model is to be imitated – vicarious consequences (punishment or reward), external motivation (those behaviours that are rewarded are most likely to be repeated) and self-reinforcement (the behaviour is likely to be repeated if it satisfies their internal needs, for example the feeling of euphoria when taking drugs)
  • We are likely to take drugs ourselves if a friend, family member or media model does this - our models are someone we either admire, relate to or find significant in some way
  • We may be more motivated to take a drug if we see our model enjoying themselves while taking it as part of positive reinforcement and so we will gain direct reinforcement from doing this
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Drugs for Drugs

A01

  • A drugs for drugs programme is undertaken with informed consent from the individual
  • It consists of 4 weeks in a residential setting, 12 weeks in a community setting and 6 months in psychosocial support
  • Methodone is an opioid agonist which is substituted in order to wean them off drugs all together
  • It doesnt affect an individual from functioning normally and holds withdrawal symptoms at bay for 24 hours
  • Methadone is taken orally under supervision at a clinic on a daily basis
  • Before treatment an individual is tested on self harm risk, loss of opioid tolerance, other drug misuse and personal circumstances
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Drugs for Drugs

A02

  • Blattler et al (2002) - gives evidence to suggest that drug treatment programmes work
  • The National Institute of Health (1997) - found methadone maintenance treatment is effective in reducing heroin drug use as well as crime
  • Studies from Austria, Europe, Asia and USA have found strong associations between the treatment and reduction of drug use
  • Many need treatment for atleast 2 years and 85% stay on methadone for 12 months - implies it is a long treatment and has cost implications
  • Assigning or not assigning someone to treatment isnt ethical and so it is hard to evaluate the success of programmes
  • Even when government approved are highly regulated which can make the day to day running of them very difficult
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Aversion Therapy

A01

  • Aversion therapy is based on the principles of classical conditioning where the pairing of 2 stimuli causes an association to be made
  • The use of a drug is used to prevent the body oxiding acetaldehyde and so a client is put under a state of excessive drunkenness even with a small amount of alcohol
  • The consuption of alcohol is therefore paired with the effects of the antabuse (medication of disulfiram)
  • The acetaldehyde builds up causing unpleasant symptoms (normally oxidised into acetic acid which is harmless)
  • Before any consumption the disulfiram is administered so they are to experience the unpleasant symptoms
  • This is based on anautonomic response i.e. vomiting and so we are conditioned to avoid
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Aversion Therapy

A02

  • Very effective in short term due to the side effects
  • Works well if linked with social support - positive reinforcement is needed to ensure clients are to stay away from alcohol
  • Deals with the physiological addiction - the psychological reasons are addressed separately
  • The rates of relapse are high as when disulfirm is no longer used, nausea levels rely on the conditioned stimulus which will gradually become extinguished
  • If psychological reasons are not resolved then relapse is almost inevitable
  • Only effective if the drinker abstains from alcohol completely in the future - drinking without disulfiram will activate the reward system
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Drink Driving Campaigns

A01

  • Designed to transmit health information and provide knowledge which helps prevent bad habits forming related to drinking
  • The knowledge provided is both positive and negative in terms of the behaviours and choices explained
  • It provides reminders for those who already know but may have forgotten or have relapsed back into bad habits
  • It attempts to change the norms of society and encourages conformity to health behaviours
  • It is promoted by world health, government, foundations, schools and GP's
  • They seek to raise awareness, inform and change our attitudes
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Drink Driving Campaigns

A02

  • Some campaigns are hard to measure the success rates as lots can contribute to good health
  • We can however measure the number of offences with drink driving as a statistic to view effects
  • Data provided from the success can be compared due to being quantitative
  • National advertising campaigns are costly but the alternative would be high rates of related deaths and the costs that follow
  • Changing behaviours is harder than attitudes due to being in the moment of a situation
  • Health campagins are preventative rather than curative which ensures lives arent lost before action is taken
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Blattler et al (2002)

A01

  • Aim: To look at maintenance treatment for heroin users who also used cocaine (poly-drug use) to see effects of programme on cocaine use
  • Background: In 1982, 900 patients were treated with methadone and by 1994 the number had increased to 14,000. Many didn't benefit from treatment and so the government launched a research project.
  • Procedure: This was naturalistic with those who were on PROVE programmes as part of a cohort study. It was also longitudinal along with clinical trails on smaller sub-samples. 6 clinics were used.
  • Researchers chose a group of users on a PROVE programme and compared baseline measures with follow up data. Participants selected were atleast 20 years old, addicted to heroin for atleast 2 years and had atleast 2 attempts to be treated without success. Trained interviewers questioned at intake and every 6 months along with urine tests twice a month and HIV every 6 months. Finally there was a questionnaire for those leaving and data was recorded about dosage, time of admistration and other medications
  • Findings: 75% of participants preferred to inject both drugs, 33% drank alcohol, 54% were only occasional cocaine users and 16% werent non-cocaine users at intake
  • Conclusion: There was a clear rate of reduction of drug use with after 18 months 51% having no use of cocaine
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Blattler et al (2002)

A02

  • Using interviewing, questionnaires and urinalysis means there are qualitative and quantitative measures, enhancing validity
  • As it was a naturalistic study there was good ecological validity as no variable was manipulated
  • Many factors were checked over time ie. price of cocaine (ensures treatment was responsible for any change)
  • Drop out rate was 11% meaning those left on treatment could have been causing bias
  • The study relies on self report data which may alter reliability
  • It is possible that participants may have altered their behaviours due to being interviewed tested and observed making results invalid
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Ennett et al (1994)

A01

  • Aim: To identify whether peer groups have an influene on the implications for adolescent behaviour
  • Background: It has been claimed that peer groups link with adolescent smoking. A friendship clique is a small cluster of adolescents who spend time together. The friendship patterns evident have implications for adolescent behaviour like drug use
  • Procedure: 1092 students in the 9th grade in 5 schools in America (50% femaile and 84% white) were interviewed twice in their homes about smoking at the beginning of 9th and 10th grade and were asked to give names of their 3 best friends
  • 15% were identified as current smokers (carbon monoxide breath samples) and an analysis on the number of clique smokers in proportion to number of cliques was calsulated using spearmans rank correlation 
  • Findings: The majority of cliques were made up of nonsmokers however, those clique member who smoked tended to associate with each other in the same cliques
  • Conclusion: Peer groups may contribute more to nonsmoking than smoking and adolescents in the same clique were alike in smoking behaviours. Smoker has greater social significance to girls than boys.
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Ennett et al (1994)

A02

  • Sample was large due to using 5 schools and county was selected due to similarity to USA overall - high generalisability
  • Self report data is unreliable however, the same questions were asked as well as research into mothers education and social class
  • Findings may apply to other drugs like alcohol and marijuana as well as violent behaviours and sexual activity
  • The study had high ecological validity as it simply collected data about individuals own environments and groups - however, the data may not be valid as they were limited to naming 3 friends, some of which may have been outside of school
  • Individuals may not have wanted to disclose their smoing habits or personal information and so lied - social desirability
  • Gave good insight into how friendship groups are formed and the influences - support
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Key Issue - How to Prevent Drug Abuse

A01

  • Can be achieved through campaigns which encourage people not to use drugs, not just for negative effects on you but for other people
  • Drink driving campagins are designed to transmit health information and provide knowledge which helps prevent bad habits forming related to drinking
  • The knowledge provided is both positive and negative in terms of the behaviours and choices explained
  • It provides reminders for those who already know but may have forgotten or have relapsed back into bad habits
  • It attempts to change the norms of society and encourages conformity to health behaviours
  • It is promoted by world health, government, foundations, schools and GP's
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