Constraint theory : a cognitive, motivational theory of dependence

Hammersley, Richard (Richard H.)

Department of Psychology
REF 2014 submission
2014

Journal article


Rights
©2016 University of Hull
Abstract

Aims: A new theory of substance dependence is presented that models dependence as the absence of cognitive constraints on substance use.

Methods: (1) Critical review of the predominant paradigm that assumes that substance dependence is a pathological state fundamentally caused by the neuropsychopharmacological effects of drugs (NPP paradigm) identified four counter-factual assumptions. Contrary to the NPP paradigm: (I) dependence can occur on a-typical substances and other things; (II) dependence is a complex, gradated phenomenon, not a state; (III) heavy protracted substance use can occur without dependence; and (IV) NPP interventions against dependence have not worked other than as drug substitutes. (2) Reconceptualisation of dependence as substance use with few cognitive, behavioural or social constraints. (3) Development of an exhaustive list of constraints on substance use with a panel of experts, achieving theoretical saturation. (4) Modelling of dependence, specifically to explain why socioeconomic deprivation is correlated with substance dependence.

Results: Fifteen common constraints are described, which prevent most substance users becoming dependent. People in more socioeconomically deprived conditions tend to have fewer constraints. Similarities between Constraint Theory and previous sociological and social cognitive theories are discussed.

Conclusions: Constraint theory describes the known nature of substance dependence better than theories from the NPP paradigm. Conceptualising dependence as an absence of constraints shows promise as a theory of addiction and fits with existing knowledge about what works to prevent and treat substance dependence.

Publisher
The University of Hull
Peer reviewed
Yes
Language
English
Extent
193 KB
Identifier
hull:9536

Journal

Journal title
Addiction research and theory
Publication date
2014
Publisher
Taylor & Francis
DOI
10.3109/16066359.2013.779678
ISSN (Print)
1606-6359
ISSN (Electronic)
1476-7392
Volume
22
Issue
1
Start page
1
End page
14
Notes

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Addiction research and theory on 9/04/2013, available online: http://wwww.tandfonline.com/10.3109/16066359.2013.779678

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Published article
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