Addiction Booklet 2Media Influences on addictive behaviour
Media Influences on Addictive BehaviourThe media communicates information about addictions (often inaccurately) and this canaffect people’s attitudes and behaviours towards them; as well as their ideas about therisks of addiction.The growth of the Internet means that information about addictions can now be spreadto large groups of people rapidly.Films and music: Addictive behaviours are also shown through public exposure to rolemodels who promote dependency behaviours in films or in music. For example, drugtaking musicians or through “cult” films such as Trainspotting and Pulp Fiction.An important feature of this is that such media sources are increasingly seen across theworld and this multiplies their potential impact. (SLT can be used to explain the linkbetween media and addictive behaviours).AO1
Media Influences on Addictive Behaviour ~ p.12Investigations by psychologists into the social learning effects ofthe media seem to focus on three main areas: AO11. Does the media really influence addictive behaviour?(e.g., through role models in films, etc) Yes or No?2. What is the role of media (through advertising) in perpetuating addictivebehaviours?3. Can the media serve a positive role in trying tochange addictive behaviours?
Group work activity:1. You will now be allocated to a group.2. Firstly, you must research one of the questions onpage 12 in Addiction Booklet 2.3. Each student in the group must prepare their own mindmap for their question.4. Each student in the group must write up a summary intheir own words (on page 16 in the booklet) to answertheir question.5. You must present your best mind map and summaryto the rest of the class.Media Influences on Addictive Behaviour
Representation of addictionSulkunen (2007) collected 140scenes from 47 filmsFilms showed competence andenjoyment of addictivebehaviours and contrasted thiswith the DULLNESS of ordinarylife. Film: Human Traffic showsthe drug Ecstacy being used tosolve relationship problems.Elaboration: This providesevidence to show that filmsportray addictive behaviours in apositive way.Gunasekera et al (2005) – reviewed 87 of the mostpopular films from last 20 years.Found various degrees of addiction to differentsubstances (including nicotine) and behaviours.Drug use was portrayed positively with no negativeconsequences.Elaboration: This study shows that addictivebehaviours are shown in a positive light in the media.Sergent + Hanewinkel (2009) Found a positivecorrelation between exposure to smoking in films inyoung people (11 -15) and later smoking behaviour.Boyd (2008) argues thatfilms DO show the negativeconsequences (e.g.,physical deterioration).Also, film makers in the USare offered financialincentives to portray druguse in a negative way.Byrne (1997) suggests thatfilms are importantbecause they perpetuatestereotypes and informpublic awareness.Elaboration: This means that filmsmay have the potential to influenceattitudes, opinions and behaviour,which means that they could beused in a positive way to benefitsociety.Guidelines relating toshowing the use of drugs infilms and on TV have nowbeen produced in the USA.Elaboration: This demonstratesthat the depiction of addictivebehaviours in the media is nowseen as a serious issue.
Advertising addictive behavioursMany forms of media areused for Advertising: TV,cinema, films, radio,newspapers, magazines,Internet.....Advertising has been usedin two ways;* To encourage the sales of tobacco and alcoholicdrinks (in the past) and also lottery cards etc…* To promote Government health campaignssuch as anti-smoking, drink-driving crusades, etc.Advertising may be an importantfactor that influences the initialdecision of some people to startgambling.Why might this influence addictivebehaviours:1. A huge amount of advertisingassociated with Lotteries – across UKand Europe..2. Seen as “soft” gambling3. Easy to buy lottery cards4. Easy to access results (TV, Internet)5. Linked to positive features ofwinning (and not losing!) “It could beyou”Advertising alcohol andcigarettes seems toincrease awareness ofthese products and shapesattitudes, particularly inyounger people.Chapman and Fitzgerald(1982) found that under-age smokers reported apreference for heavilyadvertised brands.Elaboration: This shows thepowerful effects ofadvertising in encouragingaddictive behaviours inyoung people.AO2 Commentary:However, the effects ofadvertising on alcoholand cigaretteconsumption andgambling behaviour arehard to measure.But, the influence isthought to be sufficientlystrong that legislation hasbeen introduced in theUK to ban cigaretteadvertising and to restrictalcohol advertising.
The positive role of mediaMedia such as TV and the Internetcan be used to provide support foraddicts and to educate people aboutthe dangers of developing anaddiction.Television is increasingly being usedto promote healthy lifestyles andbehaviour change, such as smokingcessation and the positive effects ofphysical exercise.Television - Support for Problem Drinking?A TV series ‘Psst....the really useful guide toalcohol (1989, BBC), was evaluated byBennett et al (1991).Viewers were compared with matchedcontrols who did not watch the series.Although the results showed animprovement in alcohol-related knowledge,they did not show any change in attitude orin actual alcohol consumption.Kramer et al (2009) assessedthe effectiveness of DrinkingLess? Do it yourself! A 5-weekTV self-help programmedesigned to reduce problemdrinking in the Netherlands.They found that theintervention group was moresuccessful than a control groupin achieving low-risk (ratherthan high-risk drinkingproblems), a difference thatwas maintained at a three-month follow up.Anti-drug campaignsIn 2008, a television and internetadvertising campaign was launchedin the UK to warn teenagers of thedangers of cocaine use.Elaboration: Although we mightexpect such dramaticrepresentations to work, evidenceabout the effectiveness of suchcampaigns is far from conclusiveand calls into question theeffectiveness of the media inchanging people’s attitudes towardsaddiction.Hornik et al (2008)suggests two main reasonswhy this media campaignfailed. Given all the anti-drug messages to whichyouths are exposed, andthe fact that the messagesin the campaign were notparticularly novel, it isunsurprising that theeffects are minimal.Anti-drug advertisingcontains an implicitmessage that drug use iscommonplace (it“normalises” drug use) andJohnston et al (2002) foundthat youths who saw thecampaign ads, took fromthem the message thattheir peers were usingmarijuana, and were thenmore likely to imitatemarijuana use themselves(SLT).
Discuss the effects of the mediaon addictive behaviour1. Does the media really influence addictivebehaviour?2. What is the role of the media in perpetuatingaddictive behaviours?3. Can the media serve a positive role in tryingto change addictive behaviours?
Media Influences on Addictive Behaviour~ p.17A further problem...............A later development, which now appears to be an increasingproblem in this area, is an addiction to the media itself. Peopleare becoming addicted to the ever-increasing provision of mediaformats, including;* interactive computer games* on-line gambling sites* Facebook* mobile phoneA clinic in the Netherlands which treats drug and alcohol addicts,is now increasingly treating computer gamers with exactly thesame treatment methods used for people with a substanceaddiction.AO2
Media Influences on Addictive Behaviour~ p.17Supporting evidence:Kimberley (2006) found that social medias are addictive in themselves,leading to increased usage to sustain “highs” and increased anxiety withoutperiodic access. Even minor exposure can create physical and psychologicaldependence, suggesting social media addiction (SMA) is a real and problematiccondition. How long can you go without your mobile phone before you feelanxious?Farber (2007) reported that SMA is an increasing problem at work, with manyemployees feeling persistent need to access social media sites, suggesting thatsuch behaviour seriously affects performance.Walther (1999) reported on the increase in communication addiction disorder(CAD). This is where the disinhibition of the Internet makes it attractive topeople who have difficulties establishing and maintaining normal socialrelationships. CAD creates serious disturbances in psychosocial functioning andin people’s ability to maintain positive work practices, illustrating the negativeinfluence of the media on vulnerable individuals.AO2
Media Influences on Addictive Behaviour~ p.17Commentary:Most of the research in this area (SMA and CAD) is relativelyrecent and further research still needs to be conducted toassess the full impact of media addiction.However, the easy access that the majority of people have tothe Internet, social media sites and mobile phones, meansthat there is some concern among psychologists about thepotential for a significant increase in the number of peopleshowing addictive behaviours in the future.AO2
Describe one way in which themedia may influence addictivebehaviour (4 marks)Media Influences on Addictive Behaviour~ p.18Remember.... You will have a “parted” questionon addiction – i.e., no 24 marks questions on thistopic on paper 4.