Project owner/ Project manager
Norwegian Institute of Public Health
There are several theories on and explanations of addiction: neurobiological, psychological and as a result of a rational choice. Studies of ordinary people's perceptions of the phenomenon of addiction are rare, however. Increasing our knowledge in this area could be particularly valuable in practical terms, not least for the self-treatment for different forms of substance addiction. In this project we will be studying social representations of addiction by asking respondents to state their opinion on a number of statements about what addiction implies or represents (illness, lack of willpower, motivational conflict, compulsion, urge, impulse, habit etc.) across a number of different intoxicants: cocaine, heroin, smoking, snus, amphetamine, sedatives, gambling, alcohol. To study the stability of the social representations of different forms of addiction we will modify psychological distance by varying the "target" persons in the descriptions. The second research question is about attribution of responsibility, in the sense that the degree to which addicts of a given intoxicant should have access to assistance and help to break the habit is assumed to covary with certain attributed characteristics such as responsibility, blame, control and which of the moral emotions are activated (sympathy, anger).
See the full project description at Cristin for more information about results, researchers, contact information etc.
Jostein Rise, Norwegian Institute of Public Health