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Alcoholics' beliefs about abuse: causes, effects and treatment.

Journal article
Authors Lennart Sjöberg
Viktor Samsonowitz
Bengt Jansson
Published in Drug and alcohol dependence
Volume 20
Issue 1
Pages 63-80
ISSN 0376-8716
Publication year 1987
Published at Department of Psychology
Pages 63-80
Language en
Keywords Adult, Aged, Alcoholism, etiology, psychology, therapy, Female, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Questionnaires, Self Concept, Sex Factors
Subject categories Applied Psychology


The beliefs that problem drinkers hold about the causes of abuse, effects of alcohol, and methods of treatment were investigated. The drinkers' beliefs about their own abuse as well as their beliefs about other abusers were both studied. It was found that own abuse was mostly explained by internal factors (drinking to reduce distress or to achieve an elated mood) while external factors (e.g. unemployment) were more often referred to as explanations of the abuse by other persons. Alcohol abuse as an illness was a frequently endorsed concept, while explanations in terms of social or macro level factors were rarely accepted. Females tended to accept more explanations of abuse than males. Many of the problem drinkers tended to see very few explanations for their own abuse and to be quite skeptical about treatment. Factor analysis resulted in three factors: acceptance of reasons for abuse, perceived dependence and experienced control of drinking. Cluster analysis indicated that about 25% of the problem drinkers had a high level of acceptance, perceived dependence and control. These problem drinkers may be a prime target group for treatment.

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