Health Psychology Studies


Health Psychology Studies


PET Scans Study

Scott Et Al (2004)

·      Study using PET scanning on humans showed that smoking cigarettes stimulates the brain to produce opioids, which act on the brain to increase positive emotions and relieve pain symptoms.


Interviews Study + Heroin Study

Blattler Et Al (2002)           

·      Aims

o   The aim was to look at maintenance treatment for heroin users who also used cocaine (poly-drug use), in order to see the effect of heroin maintenance programme on their cocaine use. The study examined drop-out rates from treatment to see if it was higher when the heroin users used cocaine as well. It also looked at how cocaine use changed among those who stayed for treatment. 

·      Procedure

o   The study used the medical Prescription of Narcotics Programme (PROVE), which involved prescribing heroin for heroin users. The researchers chose a group of heroin users on the PROVE programme and compared baseline measures with follow-up data. The study took place in a naturalistic setting - the participants were on the programme in any case. This is called a cohort study because one group or cohort of people is followed over the course of a programme. It is also a longitudinal study using the same participants. As well as following the main group, there was a series of clinical trials on a smaller subsample of the main group. Ethical approval was given and there was a safety assurance group that monitored the ongoing medical therapy. 

o   Trained independent interviewers questioned the participants at intake and every 6 months, using a standardised questionnaire
Urine tests (urinalysis) were carried out at intake and randomly with notice twice a month. 
Medical examinations for HIV and hepatitis were carried out at intake and every 6 months
There was a questionnaire for those leaving treatment, to discover their reason for doing so.
Data were recorded about dosages, the time of administering the treatment, and any other medication being used. 

o   The treatment was a prescription of narcotics - a daily injection of heroin. There was also psychosocial and medical care, and counselling was mandatory. 

o   From 1994-1995 995 patients were selected. They had been admitted to a heroin-assistend maintenance treatment programme. At the end of the 18 months of follow-up, the interviews stopped. Of the original 995 patients, 486 did not have 18 months follow-up so were excluded from the study thus leaving 509 participants. The participants had to be at least 20 years old, addicted to heroin for at least 2 years, with at least two previous attempts to be treated without success, and they have to give informed consent. People on the testament were expelled for drug dealing at the treatment centre, smuggling substances, using violent behaviour, or for non-compliance with the treatment or research guidelines. The confirmed use of illicit substances did not cause them to be expelled.

·      Method

o   Cohort study in a naturalistic setting. It was


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