Vulnerability to addiction

aqa a A2 psychology unit 4

  • Created by: lauren
  • Created on: 15-06-12 15:54


Everyday stress- addiction is generally associated with relieving anxiety - people report that they drink, smoke, use drugs and gamble as a means of coping with daily hassles such as relationship problems , money worries and workplace stress - such daily stressors may contribute to initiation, maintenance and relapse after periods of abstinence

individual differences for reacting to stress have been taken into consideration - because stress can result in vulnerability to addiction for type 1 alcoholics who drink because they are trying to reduce worry but not for type 2 alcoholics who drink only to relieve boredom - Cloninger

Traumatic stress - people exposed to severe stress are more vulnerable to addictions - especially children who have experienced parental loss or child abuse 

Driessen - 30% of drug addicts and 15% of alcoholics also suffer from post-dramatic stress disorder

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McAlister - a person may feel the need to smoke because of peer pressure, specifically because of peer encouragement and approval of smoking as well as the belief that smoking will make them more popular

Eiser - those who give into peer pressure of friends who smoke are more likely to have mostly friends that smoke, whereas those who do not smoke are more likely to be friends with other non smokers

Social learning theory - bandura - behaviours are learned through the observation of others and subsequent modelling of this behaviour - young people are most likely to imitate the behaviour of those whom they have the most social contact - after they have started smoking, whether they continue to smoke depends on if they have good (meet new people who smoke) or bad (end up smoking outside on their own) experiences with it SUPPORT - duncan - exposure to peer models who smoke increases the likelihood that teenagers will begin smoking and eiser - adolescents who percieve rewards such as higher social status and popularity from smoking are more likely to smoke

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Social identity theory - abrams and hogg - group members adopt the norms and behaviours that are central to the social identity of the group to which they belong - in peer groups where status as a smoker is central to the social identity of the group, individuals are more likely to be smokers - of non-smoking status is central to the social identity of the group it is more likely for them to be non-smokers - support from Mitchell - adolescents are motivated to begin smoking if they hold positive stereotypes about what groups of smokers are like

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Brown - peer influence on smoking and drug abuse becomes less powerful as the adolescents grows up, where eventually the stongest influence is from only their close friends or their romantic partner 

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The way a person behaves can change from situation to situation - example - you are unlikley to behave in the same way with a teacher as you are at a party with friends but there is likely to be some consistency in the way a person behaves in different situations and this is reflected by the personality they have - to measure what kind of personality someone has, psychologists typically use questionnaires and may have found that people with certain personalities are more likely to become addicts


Francis - addicts are more likely to score highly on neuroticism and psychotism

Zuckerman - high extraversion makes a person more likely to seek drugs or alcohol

Weintraub - people who are naturally higher in impulsivity because of increased dopamine levels are more likely to become addicted

BUT TEESON - its difficult to determine whether personality increases the likelihood of addiction or that addictive behaviour causes changes in personality

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ethics in addiction research - lee suggests that research in sensitive areas such as addiction creates ethical issues for the researcher - threat of sanction - involves possbility of revealing information that is indcriminating in some way  - example - interviewing people with a drug addiction who reveal illegal behaviours - researchers must weigh up the costs and benefits before conducting a study

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