Vulnerability to Addiction

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Stress (AO1)

Everyday stress: People report drinking, smoking, gambling etc. as a way of coping with the demands of daily life such as workplace stress.

Traumatic stress:Severe stress can make people more vulnerable to addiction. Driessen et al found that 30% of drug addicts and 15% of alcoholics also suffer from PTSD.

Stress (AO2)

Individual differences:stress is reported to make some people vulnerable to addiction whilst others are not vulnerable to addiction. This is shown by evidence of two types of alcoholics

  • Those that drink to reduce stress: Are more likely to be female and are more prone to anxiety and depression.
  • Those that drink to relieve boredom: Are more likely to take risks.

Smokers report higher levels of stress than non-smokers, they also report that their stress levels decrease when they stop smoking.

Once a smoker has taken up smoking it may become stress reducing because the desire to have another cigarette is stressful.

 Peers (AO1)

Social learning theory:  Assumes that behaviours are learned through observation and modelling of behaviour. Young people imitate those who they have the most social contact with. Once smoking has been initiated, experiences will determine whether it persists or not.

Social identity theory: Suggests that group members adopt the norms and behaviours of the group which they are in. In peers where the status of a smoker is central to the group, individuals are likely to have similar smoking habits.

Peers (AO2)

Social learning theory: Duncan et al claims that exposure to peer models influences the likelihood that teens will begin smoking. Eiseret al suggested that rewards, such as popularity, play a part in why adolescents begin smoking.

Social identity theory:  Mitchell found that adolescents were motivated to begin smoking because of the stereotype they hold of specific social crowds. However we…


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