Cognitive models of addiction

writing in purple is A02 A03 marks, writing in black A01

aqa a psychology unit 4 A2

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  • Created by: lauren
  • Created on: 15-06-12 11:16

The self-medication model

Initiation - Gelkopf - proposed that choice of drug or acitvity depends on the specific effect an individual desires - for example a person suffering from anxiety seeks alcohol - drug/acitvity may not acutally make things better but it is believed to have that effect

Maintenance and relapse - a paradox - many smokers smoke to relieve stress yet report higher levels of stress than non-smokers and their levels of stress decrease when they stop smoking - Cohen and Lichenstein - each cigarette may temporarily relieve stress because it relieves the withdrawal symptoms that arise when a smoker cant smoke - parrott - similar effect with alcohol, as the rush of intoxication may help people to forget their troubles short term, but in the long term it only exacerbates them

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The self-medication model

Research support - model predicts that an addict fails to control the impulse to sel-medicate, a failure of ego control - meta-analysis file draw effect, only choosing studies to match the hypthesis, studies used may not all have the same methodology so make results inaccurate by Gottdiener - found that participants whose substance abuse disorders showed significant failures in ego control compared to a control group - model also predicts that some form of psychological distress must precede drug abuse - Sanjuan found that sexually abused women were more likely to turn to alcohol and other drugs to remove sexual inhibitions than were no abused women gender bias? research in this area of sexual abuse only conducted on women - it is known that men may also suffer from sexual abuse - issues when generalising from women to men - many cases of addiction where there are no psychological problems to be overcome

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The self-medication model

Is addiction a myth? Davis - addiction is a myth - addicts use the language of addiction such as 'i cant control myself' when talking to health workers or the police, but when talking to their peers their language suggests they are execerising preferences that are rational and understandable,  given the circumstances in which they live BUT Wrst suggests its not supported by observations of addictive behaviour in real life - aruges that the phenomena of addiction such as cravings and compulsions are very real

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Expectancy theories

initiation - expectancy theories -Brandon - propse that addiction develops because of the expectations an individual has where the benefits outweigh the costs - example - heavier drinkers have been shown to have more positive expectancies about the effects of alcohol compared to light drinkers - Southwick et al

Maintenance and relapse - Brandon - long-term addiction is influenced by unconscious expectancies involving automatic processing - would explain the loss of control which is typical of addiction - expectancies can also be mainpulated to prevent relapse - tate - told smokers that they should expect no negative experiences when abstaining from smoking - led to fewer reported somatic effects such as shaking and fewer psychological effects such as mood disturbance than a control group who were not influenced

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Expectancy theories

Leigh found that the more favourably people evaluated the effects of drinking, the greater was their overall alcohol use - suggests that the subjective evaluation of expected effects might be an important determinant of drinking behaviour, supporting expectancy theory

Addiction or consumption? Expectancy theory concerned more with consumption (of alcohol) than addiction and so does only rarely consider loss of control which is typical of addiction - its not clear what role expectancies play in the development of this loss of control which is typical of addiction

Publication bias? many studies have supported an assocaited between expectations and drinking behaviour and other addictive behaviours but this may constitute a publication bias - the selective publication of positive results gives an unrepresentable view of research into this area - the number of studies published is relatively small and replications of these studies are small and contradictory findings are frequent - Saunders

Gender bias? men, compared to women, have been found to have stronger positive expectancies about the effects of alcohol (Sher) - but other studies found no gender differences in expectancy - conclusions may be gender biased

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Rational choice theory

Initiation - Becker and Murphy - addicts make a rational choice concerning the current and future utility of their drug taking, drinking or gambling - utility refers to the relative satisfaction recieved from an item abd is a concept taken from economics - individuals must weigh up the costs incurred against the benefits they are likely to recieve

maintenance and relapse - addicts are rational consumers who look ahead and behave in a way that is likley to maximise the preferences they hold

can explain how some addicts stop - if any acitvity is meaured in terms of utility for the individual, they may reach a point there the negatvies outweigh the positvies - harmful effects outweigh the pleasure - and they then decide to quit - the out of control view cant explain how people come to quit

real world application - drugs can be treated in the same way as other consumer behaviours - by changing their utility for the individual - for example making them more expensive or making them harder to get or illegal

not all addicts are rational - griffiths found that fruit machine addicts thought irrationally - they thought they were more skillful than they actually were and were more likely to make irrational verbalisations during play than non addicts

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A03 for cognitive models of addiction

helps explain individual differences - lots of people have gambled but not all become addicted as they have not developed faulty cognitive processes such as irrational thinking 

not reductionist - it doesnt try and reduce a complex phenomenom such as addictive behaviour to simple explanations, it addresses that we are human beings with complex thinking and that a range of factors are involved such as irrational thinking and utility as well as our expectancies of certain behaviours

other models of addiction may explain it better - learning model of addiction looks at our past experiences and reactions to addiction which could influence later experiences

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