Addiction- Vulnerability to Addiction

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Risk Factors in the Development of addicition

Stress -  is experienced when a persons' percieved demands of a situation are greater than their percieved ability to cope, particularly if they see these demands as threatening to themselves. Experience of stress is as strongly influenced by a perception of a situation as it is by an actual situation itself. 

Research has shown that stress is a risk factoe in the development of addicition. It has been suggested that high levels of stress can be linked to addicition. 

NIDA (1999) -  Addiction can often be linked with relieving anxiety. Individuals report drinking, smoking and gambling to cope with daily hassles such as relationship troubles, money worries and workplace stress. This can contribute to the initiation and maintenance of addiction but also the relapse after a long period of abstinence. 

Driessen et al (2008)- Research has indicated that people exposed to severe traumatic stress are more vulnerable to addictions, especially those who have experienced parental loss or child abuse. Findings showed that 30% of drug addicts and 15% of alcoholics suffer from post traumatic stress disorder. 

Parrot (1995) - Investigated the relationship between smoking and stress and found that smoking reduced stress levels. This suggests that mood control may be a motive for an indiviual's smoking behaviour. 

 A problem with the research on smoking addiction is that it is it purely correlational and therefore we cannot conclusively determine cause and effect. Smokers also report increased levels of stress, so it is unclear from this research whther high levels of stress are a risk factor in developing a addicition or whether in fact it may be that smoking causes an individual higher levels of stress. Therefore the methodology of the research limits the extent to which we can state with certainty that stress is a risk factor in developing an addiction. 


Eiser et al(1991) found that among adolescesnts, smokers make friends with smokers and non smokers befriend other non smokers. Increased levels of smoking may be caused by peers' encouragement and social approval, as well as the message that smoking is an activity that promotes popularity. 

This study suggests that smokers make friends with other smokers and therefore observe them gaining positive rewards such as social approval. Therefore an individual is likely to smoke because they want to receive postive rewards of social approval and popularity. 

Social learning theory: Bandura (1977) - Behaviours are learned through the observation others and subsequent modelling of this behaviour. Young people are most likely to imitate the behaviour of those that they have the most social contact with, Once they have started smoking, future experiences with the new behaviour determine whether or not it continues. 

Social Identity theory: Abrams and Hogg (1990)- this theory assumes that group memebers adopt those norms and behaviours that are central to the social identity of the group to which they belong. In peer groups where status as 'smoker' or 'non smoker; is central to the social identity


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