Explanations for specific addictions

psychology aqa a A2 unit 4

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  • Created by: lauren
  • Created on: 15-06-12 14:48

Smoking addiction

Initiation - smoking may be seen as a sign of adulthood or rebelliousness and one that promotes peer popularity - Jarvis argues that this image is sufficient enough for the novice smoker to tolerate the unpleasantness of the first few cigarettes, after which the physical effects of nicotine take over

Support - Mayeux - boys who smoked at 16 were more popular among peers two years later - for alcohol abuse - relationship was ther other way around - popularity at age 16 predicted the onset of alcohol abuse - results highlight that popularity appears to be a risk factor for various types of hazardous behaviour during the school years

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Smoking addiction

Effects of nicotine - nicotine affects nicotine acetylcholine receptors in the brain leading to the release of dopamine in the nucleus accumbens - creates short term sense of pleasure followed by lowered mood and concentration as nicotine levels drop in the blood

research support for long-term effects - Khaled- Canadian study - lends further support to the possibility that long term smoking may have an adverse effect on mood as it alters neurochemistry - found that the incidence of depression was highest in current smokers and lowest in those that had never smoked - reasons for this unclear but its possible nicotine causes changes to neurotransmitter activity in the brain, leading to an increased risk of depression 

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Smoking addiction

Socioeconminc status - Fidler - smoking in the UK was associated with social and economic disadvantage - poorer smokers tending to have higher levels of nicotine intake - greater nicotine intake in more deprived smokers could explain why they find it harder to stop 

research support - French study - Peretti-Watel - specific types of neighbourhood and poor housing conditions were found to be significantly correlated with smoking and nicotine addiction - concluded that interventions which dont specifically target smoking but instead contibute to improving poor smokers living conditios are necessary to lower the incidence of smoking

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Smoking addiction

Smoking in pregnancy - Buka - found that a mothers smoking during pregnancy did not increase the likelihood that her child will become a regular smoker but the risk of their child becoming addicted to tobacco if they did begin smoking was doubled 

Gender bias in smoking addiction research - nerin and jane - inherent gender bias in much of the research related to smoking addiction - onset of smoking and development of smoking addiction follows a different pattern in men and women - Lopez - women start smoking later than men and that there are gender-related differences in relation to both stages and context 

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Gambling addiction

Genetic factors - twin study by Shah - evidence of genetic transmission of gambling in men - Black - first-degree relatives of pathological gamblers were more likely to suffer from pathological gambling than were more distant relatives - demonstrating a strong genetic link 

genetics or environment? familial similarity may be due to environmental rather than genetic facots -  but Slutske (twin study of 5000) found 64% of the variation in the risk for pathological gambling could be accounted for by genetic factors alone - genetic predisposition for gambling may work indirectly by the trait of impulsivity - number of studies have found that impulsivity is a significant predictor of the development of pathological gambling as well as other risky behaviours

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Gambling addiction

Sensation seeking - Zuckerman - identified individual differences in the need for optimal amounts of stimulation - sensation seekers look for a varied or novel experience, have a lower appreciation of risk and anticipate arousal as more positive than low sensation seekers - he suggested a relationship between sensation seeking and gambling in which individuals entertain the risk of monetary loss for the positive reinforcement produced by states of high arousal during periods of uncertainty as well as the positive arousal produced by winning - pathological gambler seen as a person who needs intense stimulation and excitement

research support - blaszcynski - pathological gamblers had higher boredom proneness scores than a control group of non-gamblers but overall there is little support - researcher found that those who bet on horse racing in an off-course betting shop were actually lower on sensaton seeking than non-gamblers

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Gambling addiction

individual differences - coventry and brown - found inconsistencies, racetrack betters were lower in terms of sensation seeking than non gamblers but casino gamblers were higher than non gamblers - suggesting that gambling cannot be seen as a homogeneous activity - supported by Bonnaire - studied 2 groups of pathological gamblers: cafe games players and racetrack betters - the latter had higher scores on sensation seeking - leading to the identification of subtypes - ones who play active games and gamble for the associated arousal and those that play passive games (cafe) and gamble to avoid unpleasant emotional states such as boredom 

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