Initiation Maintenance Relapse
Operant conditioning – child starts to smoke to
gain peer approval. First experience of smoking is
unpleasant – why do children continue? OC can’t
SLT – children begin smoking by imitating role
models. Exercise influence if they are of same age,
sex, race and of higher status. They see these
people enjoying it and EXPECT that they will find it
rewarding too (vicarious reinforcement)
Children are twice as likely to initiate in smoking if
their parents are smokers. If parental attitude is
firmly against smoking, child is 7 times less likely to
Classical conditioning - People associate smoking
with rewards. Young people want access to social
networks and smoking can remove a punisher, e.g.
Peer pressure important – children can be coerced
into smoking by peers who bully, tease or reject
them for not smoking. Michell and West 1996 –
young people have a ‘readiness’ for smoking and it
is only on these people that peer pressure has an
Operant conditioning - People who smoke are often
friends with and social groups with people that also
smoke. The positive reinforcement produced from
feeling sociable and having a sense of belonging
makes it hard to give up.
Classical conditioning – Physiological associations
connected to routines of smoking may be hard to
resist – forms an important part of the day for
smokers. For example, smoking after a meal or
smoking when drinking alcohol.
Cue-reactivity paradigm – people link smoking
paraphernalia with the addictive habit. So, when
they see items such as a lighter it generates a
craving. This is the same if they see another
smoker. In fact, there are cues all around people
which will make them want to relapse. The
mechanism that underlies cue-reactivity theory is
classical conditioning. Experience of craving is
paired with the items associated with the
behaviour. They generate conditioned responses
even with the absence of smoking. (Carter and
The pressure to smoke is around every day.
SLT - In gambling, people may observe other
people winning and expect to win themselves
(vicarious reinforcement). This is the drive to start
Operant conditioning - Excitement is associated
with the whole gambling process – reinforces
positive feelings. This is further reinforced by the
occasional win and is particularly crucial in early
People learn through association and observation
that behaviours can be rewarding and exciting and
this drives them to initiate in the behaviour
Operant conditioning plays a part in the
maintenance of gambling behaviour. They
experience the biological ‘buzz’ when winning
money and this is exciting for them. In order to
continue experiencing this feeling, they keep
The rewards are easy to come by and are reliable.
There are easy opportunities to gamble
Gambling provides a partial reinforcement
(reinforcement that produces very persistent
learned behaviours) - you don’t win all the time. But
you will win eventually, it is the infrequency of
winning that maintains gambling. To be extinguished
gambling must be consistently associated with
Cue-reactivity paradigm – material associated with
gambling is everywhere, e.g. betting slips, betting
shops, adverts. People are surrounded by
reminders of their addictive behaviour and the
temptations to give in are strong.
Reminders are sufficient enough to generate
feelings associated with gambling, making people
want to restart.
There are reminders about addictive behaviours in
our every day life. These reminders can generate
cravings and feelings similar to the outcome of the
actual behaviour. This can tempt people to relapse
and start the behaviour again.
negative or neutral feelings. Griffiths
Lerman explained there was a gene called SLC6A3-
9. People with this gene are born more likely to
become addicted to smoking. It is linked to
dopamine regulation in the brain.
Shields 1962 – looked at 42 twin pairs that had
been reared apart. Only 9 pairs were discordant for
smoking. However this could reflect the social
context of the time – most people smoked in 1962
and may not reflect the influence of genes.
Thorgeirsson et al suggested that particular genetic
variants make people more addicted to nicotine
once they start smoking. They found that a
particular pattern of gene variation at two points
of chromosome 15 was more common among
people who developed lung cancer (and were
dependent on nicotine). In their sample, the
genetic variant also had an effect on the number of
cigarettes smoked per day.
The SLC6A3-9 gene increases dopamine in the brain,
leading to positive feelings. They want to keep
On a study on rats and snails they found that
nicotine amplifies the reward system. This makes
other behaviours more enjoyable and rewarding. If
this is the case for humans, people could keep
smoking to make tasks seem less boring, or neutral
tasks more fun. Remember we cannot generalise
the results to humans - extrapolation. Safe-
guarding of animals, wouldn’t be allowed now.
Used electric shocks.
Shacter 1977 – withdrawal symptoms are
unpleasant. People keep smoking, maintaining
nicotine to avoid withdrawal.
Thorgeirsson et al study also showed that the
genetic variant was less common among smokers
who smoked less than 10 cigarettes per day than it
was among non-smokers, supporting the notion that
the variant does not influence smoking initiation, but
rather confers risk of nicotine dependence among
those who start.
When people quit smoking they are faced with
horrible withdrawal symptoms. They may restart
their smoking as a way of eliminating these
Lerman – smokers that were deprived of nicotine
had an increase in acitivity of other parts of the
brain. After one night with no nicotine there was
increased blood flow in parts of the brain linked
with attention, memory and reward. These parts
are active during times of craving. Some people are
more prone to this and therefore more likely to
Comings et al – people born with the gene D2A1
are more likely to become problem gamblers than
those who are not.
Positive reward theory. After placing a bet, a
period of ANTICIPATION follows. The excitement
leads to an ADRENALINE rush. This pleasurable
adrenaline rush can be ADDICTIVE. Initiation is
linked to the reward of the adrenaline rush.
Dopamine seems to be a key neurotransmitter
involved with addictive behaviour. It regulates mood
and emotion and is important in reward processes.
The mesolimbic dopamine system appears to be the
most important for motivational processes
Normally, cells in the MDS release small amounts of
dopamine into the synaptic cleft – leads to stable
Nicotine affects the nervous system by increasing
Ciarrochi et al 1987 – gamblers often have other
problems co-inciding, for example alcohol and
shopping. When quitting gambling, they switch
their attention to these other behaviours. When
these behaviours become too much of a problem,
they switch back to gambling to keep that positive
feeling experienced when engaging in the
People can relapse in order to avoid withdrawal
these dopamine levels.
As dopamine levels are increased in the brain, more
positive feelings are felt by the individual. They
therefore want to maintain their behaviour.
symptoms. Some people are more prone to
Likely to have started smoking due to her
maladaptive schemas. Thinking differs from non-
addicts such as the expectations about the positive
versus negative effects of smoking. Has positive
expectancies regarding smoking such as feeling
calm and keeping her slim. (expectancy theory)
Brandon et al.
Addiction has continue due to adapted schema and
expectancies towards smoking; they have now
become unconscious involving automatic
processing (i.e. do not have to think about it
anymore) and has therefore lost control of her
Brandon et al.
Cognitive processing model – people may have quit
but the cues that are around every day trigger
automatic responses. They may have stresses going
on in their life and it may be easy to give into the
craving as resisting the temptations will require
considerable mental effort.
Coping – negative feelings of withdrawal are
removed by having a cigarette. Smokers feel unwell
and self-conscious during withdrawal.
Gelkopf et al proposes that individuals
intentionally use different forms of behaviour such
as gambling to treat psychological problems.
The activity is chosen at random but it is the way
the addict believes they can treat the issue they
perceive they have. For example- some activities
may be chosen to deal with anxiety.
Gambling might not actually make things better,
but if the individual believes it will then it is
Cognitive distortions –Oei and Gordon
The Gambler’s Fallacy is a mistaken belief about
sequences of random events. Observing, for
example, a long run of “black” on the roulette wheel
leads to an expectation that “red” is now more likely
to occur on the next trial. (Griffiths)
Exaggerated self confidence
People believe they have the skill and that the next
big win is just around the corner.
Withdrawal symptoms can be mild. The
consequences of relapse are much better – they
return to the possibility of winning lots of money.
It reduces boredom. Life seems dull without
Relapse allows the individual to eliminate the
horrible effects of withdrawal. The temptations to
give in are often too strong due to triggers of
Recall bias- gamblers only seem to remember the
wins and fail to remember the loses. (Blanco)
Just world hypothesis- gamblers believe that in a
just world a big win will help them and therefore
are more likely to gamble again as the win is