Factors AffectingAddictive BehaviourSpecificationVulnerability to addiction; Risk factors in the development ofaddiction, including stress, peers, age andpersonality. Media influences on addictive behaviourAddiction Booklet 2
Factors Affecting Addictive BehaviourWhat makes some people more vulnerable to addiction? In thisbooklet you are going to look at four possible explanations:1) Personality – i.e., the relatively enduring characteristics of aperson. Aspects of an individual’s personality may increase theirvulnerability to addictive behaviours2) Stress – is a state emotional strain; people may therefore become“addicted” in order to self medicate.3) Peers – i.e., people of equal status; addiction can be linked to therole of the peer group and the ‘social crowd.’4) Age – developmental and social aspects relating to age can affectaddiction
Factors Affecting Addictive Behaviour – PersonalityOriginally it was believed that addiction led to personality defects,however research now suggests that it is likely that having certainpersonality characteristics may actually increase the likelihood of aperson becoming an addict. AO1Nathan (1988): supports theidea that some people will bemore likely to become addictsdue to pre-existing characterdefects within the individualperson.Eysenck (1997) supported the linkbetween personality and addiction...He found:individuals with high levels ofneuroticism (high levels of moodiness,irritability and anxiety) and also peoplewith high levels of psychotism(aggressiveness, emotional coldnessand impulsivity).........were more vulnerable toaddiction than others without suchtraits.Elaboration: Having an “addictivepersonality” would therefore suggest thatsome people will inevitably becomedependent on alcohol, drugs or some otheractivity because of a fault within their ownpersonality.AO2AO2
Factors Affecting Addictive Behaviour – PersonalityAO2Inconclusive: However, the linkbetween personality and addictionis complex and uncertain.According to Teeson et al(2002) it is difficult todisentangle the effects ofpersonality on addiction fromthe effects of addiction onpersonality.
Factors Affecting Addictive Behaviour – PersonalityChein et al (1964)It is likely that the existence of certain individual commonpersonality traits make the person more vulnerable (i.e., morelikely) to develop an addictive behaviour such as;* low self-esteem,* a desire for immediate gratification,* passivity,* having a negative outlook on lifeand also .....* having a history of being dependent within relationshipsAO2Page 3However, according to Gross et al (2011) theconcept of a distinct addictive personality hasnot been fully supportedAO2
Factors Affecting Addictive Behaviour – PersonalitySelf-esteemIt seems that people with low self-esteem can be more vulnerableto addiction than others. It is likely that individuals with low self-esteem are more vulnerable to dependency on a substance orbehaviour in order to help them to escape reality.Deverensky et al, 2003 found low self-esteem and higher rates ofdepression in adolescent gamblers.AO1Page 3
Factors Affecting Addictive Behaviour – PersonalityPage 3Supporting research for the influence of low self-esteem onthe development of addictive behaviours:Fieldman et al (1995) compared 42 heroin addicts and 47cocaine addicts (with non drug addicts) and found drug addictsreport lower self-esteem.Taylor et al (2007) analysed data from a sample of 872 boyscollected over a period of nine years. Those who had very low-self-esteem at age 11 were at higher risk of addiction(particular drug dependency) at the age of 20.AO2This shows.................there seems to be a link between personality characteristics such as lowself-esteem (even if this develops in childhood) and the development ofaddictive behaviours during adulthood.AO3?Taylor et al (2007) - Longitudinal which is positive because it measures changes in behaviour overtime – but attrition may be a problem.Correlational evidence – they found a negative correlation – low self-esteem score linked to a highlikelihood of addiction score. But no cause and effect relationship can be established.
Factors Affecting Addictive Behaviour – PersonalitySelf-esteemAddiction typically involves links to substanceabuse (e.g., alcohol, drugs, nicotine, etc), butincreasingly, mobile phone use is being identifiedby psychologists as an addictive behaviour. Forsome people, addiction occurs because it isthought that mobile phones provide escape fromsituations that users find unpleasant – but whatdo you think?AO1Page 4Read the article onNomophobia......
Factors Affecting Addictive Behaviour – PersonalityPage 4Supporting research for the influence of low self-esteem on thedevelopment of addictive behaviours:•Takao et al (2009) investigated the relationship betweenpersonality and problem mobile phone use.AO2Takao et al gave 400 college students questionnaires to establishtheir mobile phone use and level of self-esteem. They found thatthe problematic mobile phone user tended to be low in self-esteem and high in self-monitoring.This shows that the people who became addicted to using mobile phonesshared certain individual personality characteristics (i.e., low self-esteem andhigh self-monitoring) and this supports the view that addiction is strongly linkedwith personality, specifically levels of self-esteem.
Factors Affecting Addictive Behaviour – PersonalityPage 5Research into the influence of low self-esteem on thedevelopment of Internet addiction:Which shows............... that having low self-esteem within your personality can make aperson vulnerable to many different forms ofaddiction.Armstrong et al (2000) found that pathological internet usage (anindication of internet addiction) was more common in people with lowerlevels of self-esteem. Armstrong reported that self-esteem wastherefore a good predictor of the amount of time spent online and internet addiction.This suggests that personality factors (such as the level of self-esteem) can increase aperson’s vulnerability to addictive behaviours.AO2
Factors Affecting Addictive Behaviour – PersonalityPage 5However there are problems with the evidence linking low self-esteem to addiction......AO2There is contradictory evidence: Van Hasselt et al (1993) compared adolescent substance abuserswith adolescents who did not abuse drugs and found that although thedrug abusers were more likely to be depressed, there were nodifferences between the groups in terms of self-esteem. Greenberg et al (1999) whilst researching multiple dependencies(i.e., multiple addictive behaviours) in 129 students, did not find arelationship between these behaviours and low self-esteem.Newcomb et al also found that risk factors (such as peer drug use andearly alcohol use) were more influential in causing addiction than lowself-esteem
Outline the role ofpersonality in thedevelopment ofaddiction (8 marks)14 minutes
Factors Affecting Addictive Behaviour – StressIncreased stress levels are positively correlated with an increasedvulnerability to developing dependency habits, often as amaladaptive way of dealing with stress.Stressors can include things like social stressors, such as poorhousing and poverty (financial hardship or financial changes).These types of stressors tend to be found more in dense urbanenvironments, which are also associated with increased levels ofaddictive behaviours.AO1Page 6AO2 Commentary: Individual differences ~ However, such a relationship isn’t clear cut.It appears that certain individuals are more negatively affected by everyday stressors,whilst others find it easy to cope.Elaborate for AO2....
Factors Affecting Addictive Behaviour – StressEveryday stress – Addiction is generally associated with relievinganxiety.Coping strategy? Those who engage in addictive behaviours tendto report that they smoke, drink, gamble etc as a method of copingwith small daily stresses.It is because these daily hassles continue that the behaviour ismaintained and this explains why relapse happens, even after longperiods of abstinence.AO1Page 6AO2 Commentary... It may be that people therefore become addicted because theeffect of smoking would be to calm the person down and relieve the anxious responsethat may be experienced when the Sympathetic nervous system is activated by thestressor, i.e., it helps them to cope and therefore makes them feel better.Elaborate for AO2....
Factors Affecting Addictive Behaviour – StressTraumatic or severe stress – people exposed to severe stress aremore vulnerable to addictions, especially children who haveexperienced trauma, for example parental loss and child abuse.Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has been linked withaddictionAO1Page 6There is research support for the role of PTSD in addiction.Driessen et al (2008) found that 30% of drug addicts and 15% oralcoholics also suffered from PTSD.AO2 elaboration: This evidence therefore suggests that people whoare exposed to severe stress are more vulnerable to addictions.Elaborate for AO2....AO2
Factors Affecting Addictive Behaviour – StressPage 6Elaborate for AO2....This suggests that stress may explain avulnerability to addiction for some, but not allpeople.Individual differencesHowever, there are important individual differences in the role ofstress in addiction, as stress creates a vulnerability to addictionin some people, but not in all people.AO2
Factors Affecting Addictive Behaviour – StressPage 7Elaborate for AO2....This suggests that ..it is likely that the gamblers becomeso wrapped up in the thrill of their game that they forget aboutany external stressors and direct their mind toward otherthought processes and so the HPA is “switched off”.Elaborate........what else does this suggest:?That addiction can cause powerful effects on our biology. Itmeans that people may feel as if indulging in the addictivebehaviour can temporarily remove them from their problems – sogiving the individual a powerful motivation to indulge in thebehaviour again in the future.Commentary: Online gambling in Canada~ it is claimed by the ‘Canadian study’ thatcortisol levels drop by as much as 17% when players are playing online poker.What do you think this suggests?AO2
Factors Affecting Addictive Behaviour – StressPage 7Further supporting research from animal studies:Piazza et al (1989) investigated how stress affectedvulnerability to addiction in rats, by demonstrating howprevious repeated exposure to stressful tail-pinching andamphetamines actually increased activity in the dopamineneural system; making the rats more disposed to self-administer amphetamines in the future.This suggests that stress affects drug taking via the action ofneurobiology (i.e., chemicals in the brain - in rats!).AO2
APPROACHES?ISSUES?Factors Affecting Addictive Behaviour – StressPage 7IDEAs.....AO2Issues:Animal ethics: Cruel experiments, etc(also problems with extrapolating results[AO3])Human ethical issues: Social sensitivity~not everyone from a “deprived” area is anaddict – also not everyone with PTSD is anaddict.Approaches:Biological – Nature? (Stress actuallyalters our biology so it could be implicatedin causing a biological change in the brainwhich makes us more vulnerable toaddictions). Or.... is addiction a learntbehaviour.... from others in your stressfulenvironment?QuestionDiscuss the role ofstress in thedevelopment ofaddiction(4 marks + 4 marks)
Factors Affecting Addictive Behaviour – PeersPeer pressure is very influential and can affect an individual’sbehaviour, especially during childhood and most especially duringadolescence (where peer groupings are a prime influence onattitudes and behaviour). AO1Page 8If peer groupings have positive attitudes towards addictivebehaviours, such as ....thrill seeking and experimentation,then individuals within such peer groupings are more likely tohave an increased vulnerability to dependency (i.e., addiction).Many individuals with addiction problems often blame theinitiation and maintenance of dependency on peer pressure.We explain the influence of the peer group on addictive behaviours through:1) Social Identity theory (Abrams and Hogg 1990)2) Social Learning Theory (Bandura, 1977)AO2
Factors Affecting Addictive Behaviour – PeersConforming to peer pressure can be seen as normative social influence whereindividuals are influenced by peer pressure due to the desire to be acceptedand to avoid ridicule and rejection. When a peer group adopts addictivebehaviours as part of their “norms” of behaviour, then such behaviours canquickly become part of an individual’s “in-group” repertoire; used not only toshow allegiance to the group, but also to identify the group as separate fromother “out-groups” (that is, those without positive attitudes to dependencybehaviours).AO1Page 8Supporting evidence: Smoking addictionEiser et al, (1991): suggest that adolescents, smokers tend tobefriend smokers and non-smokers tend to befriend other non-smokers (i.e., they want to identify themselves with people whothey see as similar).AO2Elaboration: This evidence suggests that if young people identify themselves with otheryoung people who are addicts, then they will be more likely to become an addict, as theywill want to be identified as a part of the “in-group” and will therefore be more likely toshow similar behaviours.
Factors Affecting Addictive Behaviour – PeersSocial Learning Theory, (Bandura, 1977) Behaviours are learntthrough the observation of others and subsequent modelling ofthis behaviour. Young people are most likely to imitate thebehaviour of those whom they have most social contact. Once theyhave started smoking, experiences (i.e. pleasant or unpleasant)with the new behaviour will determine whether it will continue.AO1Page 9Supporting evidence: Alcohol addictionThombs et al (1997): used a questionnaire with 2,213 high schooland college students and found that alcohol consumption waslinked to social context, especially in the form of perceived norms,with drinking consumption demonstrating the strength of peergroup influence on addictive behaviour.AO2Elaboration: This evidence suggests that young people are more likely to observe and then“model” the behaviour of their peers and so therefore if the behaviour operating in thepeer group is a behaviour that can lead to an addiction, then the young person will have anincreased vulnerability to developing an addictive behaviour.
Factors Affecting Addictive Behaviour – PeersPage 9AO2: Problemswith SocialIdentity andSocial LearningTheories.......Can addictionsimply be due topeer influencesalone?Can the Behaviouralexplanation (i.e., SLT)really explain alladdiction?Biological factors?However..........Further evaluation:It is not only peers who influence a vulnerability to addiction in young people~Sussman and Ames (2001) reported that family conflict, poor supervision ordrug-use tolerance by parents, family modelling of drug-using behaviour, as wellas peer group associations can all influence the initiation a drug addiction.This suggests that peers are just one of several social influences relating toaddiction vulnerability.It could be that...individuals who are already dependent may seek out peer groupswho conform to their own dependency behaviour (e.g., a person who likes to drinkalcohol will join in with others who also like to drink alcohol).
Factors Affecting Addictive Behaviour – Peers and AgeAge differences and the degree of influence – The influence of peers onsmoking and drug use declines in later adolescence with teenagers decreasinglyfollowing the pressures of the crowd as they age.As we get older, the role of close friends and romantic partners becomesincreasingly more important; as do attitudes relating to health.AO1Page 10Supporting evidence: Brown et al (1997 the social crowd (e.g.peers) have a greater impact on smoking and drug use for youngadolescents, whilst “best friends” and/or romantic partner play agreater role later on in life in shaping attitudes and behaviours.AO2
Factors Affecting Addictive Behaviour – AgePage 10The most vulnerable time for initiation of dependency behaviours, such assmoking, is during adolescence and there is a positive correlation betweenearly onset of dependency behaviours and reduced probability of abstainingfrom the behaviour (in other words, the earlier a person starts smoking,the more likely they are to continue with the behaviour).Brain development may have a role in addictive behaviours.Brain changes in the area critical to judgement, decision making, learning,memory and behaviour control may be considered responsible for addictivebehaviour, suggesting that underdevelopment in this area leads to poorjudgement making.The prefrontal cortex is key in forming and maintaining connections with therest of the brain until adulthood. It is argued that the adolescent brain “lackswiring” that carries the stop message to the rest of the brain.AO1AO1
Factors Affecting Addictive Behaviour - AgeThe age at which the brain develops may affect the development of addictivebehaviours.Brain changes in the area critical to judgement, decision making, learning,memory and behaviour control may be considered responsible for addictivebehaviour; suggesting that underdevelopment in this area leads to poorjudgement making. The prefrontal cortex is key in forming and maintainingconnections with the rest of the brain until adulthood. It is argued that theadolescent brain “lacks wiring” that carries the stop message to the rest of thebrainPage 10AO1This suggests that......if we are exposed to addictive substances orbehaviours during the early part of our lives, then we are morelikely to develop a dependency; which then means that we aremore likely to maintain that dependent (addictive) behaviour inlater life (to avoid withdrawal symptoms, etc)AO2
Supporting evidence: Shram (2008) measured age differences inthe neural response to acute nicotine administration in rats.The neural structures of adolescent rats were more sensitive tothe rewarding effects of nicotine, but less sensitive to theaversive effects.... This shows? Criticisms of this research?AO2
Factors Affecting Addictive Behaviour –AgePage 11AO2 Commentary...Heavy drug use, specifically duringthe earlier years of brain development, could causepermanent changes which could alter the way the brainworks and responds to reward and consequences andthis could explain the maintenance of drug use beyondadolescence.AO2: However, brain differences are not the onlyreason for addictive behaviours being more likelyto occur during adolescence. Ogden and Fox(1994) demonstrated the use of smoking byteenage girls as a weight control/ diet strategy.AO2
Factors Affecting Addictive Behaviour –AgeAlthough early experience of addictive substances and behaviours is highlycorrelated with later dependency, failure to quit and to relapses after quitting;there is also an increased vulnerability to addictive behaviours in old age.Approx’ one third of alcoholics develop their dependency after their retirementdue to factors such as a change in status as well as stressors such as boredomand economic factors.Tranquilliser and sleeping tablet abuse have been found to be particularlyproblematic among elderly females.Page 11AO1Helfer (2006)• 17% of Swiss women over 75 years of age use painkillers or sleeping tabletseveryday.• A huge increase in painkiller and tranquilliser usage was recorded in womenaged 55-64 years.• 46% of men over 75 drank alcohol every day, compared to 6% of 25-34 yearolds.AO2Elaborate... This suggests........
Age 101 Age 100Article 2012: Late life binge drinking may causecognitive declineSleeping tablet and tranquilliser addictioncan be a problem for older womenAddiction -Not just aproblemfor theyoung
Factors Affecting Addictive Behaviour –AgePage 11Further evaluation:• Public health initiatives would therefore be more effective if targeted atspecific age groups. E.g., Young – TV adverts smoking; Older people – alcoholand painkillers• Dependency in old age is a taboo subject and many older people arereluctant to talk about their addictions and so addiction problems in thisgroup are often difficult to research and so as yet, the full extent of addictivebehaviours in older people may not actually be• The media promote and maintain a stereotypical view of addiction inyoung people, but evidence suggests that in late middle age to old age,there is an equal chance of vulnerability. With people now living longer,further research needs to be completed so that the needs of older peoplecan be identified and met by society.AO2
Past examination question ~ January 2013:(See page 18 in your booklet)Fifteen-year-old Jenny has recently started smoking. Shebelieves that smoking will stop her putting on weight and helpher to cope with stress. Most of her friends smoke and shethinks that smoking helps her to fit in with the group ofpopular girls, whom she sees as fun-loving and cool.Using your knowledge of vulnerability to addiction, discusssome of the vulnerability factors that contribute to Jenny’ssmoking. Refer to relevant research in your answer.(10 marks)