The Cognitive Approach
Initiation - A01
- Expectancy plays an important role in the initiation of addictive behaviour.
- The benefits of the activity are over estimated + people are more likely to become addicted if they have cognitive biases which minimise the negative consequences of the behaviour.
- Addicts often have high levels of impulsivity - placing a higher priority on present excitement than on future consequences (cognitive myopia).
- The addiction is used as a form of self-medication - believing it will help them cope with specific problems. The addiction may help people to cope by reducing negative mood states (e.g. boredom) + increasing positive moods (e.g. excitement).
Maintenance - A01
- Addictive behaviour is maintained because addicts have cognitive biases which emphasise the positive aspects + minimise the negative consequences of the behaviour.
- Addicts expect that abstinence from the behaviour will lead to negative consequences, meaning they will continue with the addiction.
- Addicts also have a high sense of self-efficacy, believing that they are in control of their addiction + would be able to give it up easily if they wanted to.
Relapse - A01
- When a person gives up an addiction they feel increased self-efficacy over their behaviour.
- High risk emotional states/situations can pose a threat to a person's sense of control + can lead to a relapse.
- The cognitive model suggests relapse can be minimised by understanding the person's beliefs about what constitutes high risk situations, enhancing the person's coping skills, increasing self-efficacy + restructuring their perceptions of the relapse process.
Application to Smoking
Initiation - A02
People who start smoking have expectancies that smoking will have positive effects on their lives, for example stress reduction, weight loss or improved mood; cognitive biases minimise negative effects of smoking.
BRANDON + BAKER (1991) carried out questionnaire study of psychology students. There is evidence that people start smoking because they are bored + think that smoking will raise their mood - providing evidence for the importance of expectancy.