Addiction as a functional representation

Derek Heim*, John B. Davies, Bill Cheyne, Jonathan Smallwood

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


This study examined how perceptions of the addicted state vary as a function of social conditions, personal circumstances and type of substance. University students (n = 144) were presented with portrayals of drug users in which sex, drug type and social setting were varied. A questionnaire determined the degree to which participants thought that the person portrayed was (i) addicted, (ii) prone to use drugs due to his/her personality, and (iii) perceived as a problem to society. The pattern of results fitted a functional model of the addiction concept rather than an attempt to describe an 'objective' state.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-62
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Community and Applied Social Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2001


  • Addiction
  • Drugs
  • Social construction
  • Social representations
  • Theories of addiction


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