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Psychology of addictions

Dontsov A. I., Perelygina E. B. (2016). Cognitive and value parameters of students’ perceptions of the effects of psychoactive substances. Psychology in Russia: State of the Art, 9(3), 188-202.

This article sets forth the main results of a study analyzing attitudes toward psychoactivesubstance (PAS) effects. These findings demonstrate the conditionality of social, historic, and cultural views of PAS effects. Despite the threat posed by increasing high school and university students’ drug involvement, exploration of this phenomenon in the format of scientific discourse has been limited so far.

In 2014–2015, in Yekaterinburg, Moscow, and Krasnoyarsk a survey to evaluate perceptions of high school and university students about PAS effects was conducted (289 respondents, aged 16–22).The methods used included the semantic differential (Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test modified by A.G. Shmelyov), a modified version of the Rokeach Value Survey, word associations, and content analysis.

The use of psychoactive substances is a specific social practice emerging in a certain social context that includes both drug-addicted and PAS-free young people. Examination of the factors affecting the formation of views about PAS effects and the dynamics of youth values is possible by using a bio-psycho-socio paradigm for performing a complex analysis of cognitive, behavioral, and value parameters.

As documented in the respondents’ perceptions, distinctive features that are characteristic of drug addicts and that are seen in their behavior area loss of control over behavior, emotions, and volition; changes in value systems; and a tendency to develop a manipulative communication style.

Within the system of their social perceptions the respondents endowed drug-addicted persons with pronounced negative characteristics (“aggressiveness,” “addiction,” “stupidity,” “light-mindedness”). Still, they stated that drug abusers are capable of being active, decisive, cheerful, generous, and flexible. The value analysis demonstrated that terminal values appreciated by the school and university students included health, true friends, love, happy family life, active life, and self-development. Receiving pleasure through methamphetamine intake and a burst of energy through PAS intake were considered worthless even though the survey demonstrated the respondents’ use of psychoactive substances.


DOI:  10.11621/pir.2016.0313
Keywords:  perceptions, value preferences, PAS effects, factor analysis, semantic space
About the authorsDontsov, Aleksander I.  / Perelygina, Elena B.

Available Online: 09.30.2016

Zinchenko Yu. P., Zotova O. Yu., Tarasova L.V., Gaidamashko I. V. (2016). The contamination of young people’s notions about narcotics and psychoactive substances as a threat to psychological security. Psychology in Russia: State of the Art, 9(2), 39-53.

The study described in this article investigated contemporary young people’s perceptions of drugs and psychoactive substances (PAS). In the course of the research the following hypothesis was tested: in young people’s perceptions about drugs and PAS there are differences in emotional coloring, coherence, and tolerance. J.-C. Abric’s structural approach was used as the basic methodology. The free-associations method provided the bulk of the empirical material. The results obtained were processed via prototypic analysis (by P. Vergès’s method), indexing of emotional associations (by E.E. Pronina’s method), and frequency and content analysis. 

As a result the core and the periphery of the perceptions of youth about drugs and PAS were described, and generalized notional categories that synthesize the structural elements of the perceptions were identified. The study revealed that the perceptions of young people about drugs and PAS do differ in coherence, tolerance, and emotional coloring. Perceptions of drugs are firm, consistent, and negative, while perceptions of PAS are less coherent but dynamic and have an ambivalent emotional coloration. The results are of prognostic importance for understanding young people’s attitudes toward drugs and PAS and can be used to design programs and measures directed to the prevention of PAS and drug abuse.


DOI:  10.11621/pir.2016.0204
Keywords:  perceptions, structure of perceptions, core and periphery of perceptions, perceptions of drugs, perceptions of psychoactive substances
About the authorsZinchenko, Yury P.  / Zotova, Olga Yu.  / Tarasova, Lyudmila V. / Gaidamashko, Igor V.

Available Online: 06.30.2016

Petrova, H. A., Zavarzina, O. O., Kytianova, I. P., Kozyakov, R. V. (2015). Social and personal factors of stable remission for people with drug addictions. Psychology in Russia: State of the Art, 8(4), 126-138.

This article presents research on the most effective measures in rehabilitation programs for people with chemical addictions and research on the personal characteristics that influence the complete cessation of drug and alcohol consumption. Building a model of an effective rehabilitation process is one of the most significant problems in organizing aid for drug and alcohol addicts. Analysis of the results of previous research revealed a number of factors that influence the stability of remission: individual biological factors (general state of health, presence of co-existing diseases); individual psychological factors (coping strategies, shifting of attention, self-control, aggressiveness); rehabilitation program factors (duration of programs, rehabilitation measures, form of rehabilitation, conditions for admission to a rehabilitation center); social factors (family support, rehabilitation with children, availability of communities with no drug addictions); spiritual factors (call to a divine power for help). We have researched the most effective measures of rehabilitation programs for people with chemical addictions, as well as personal characteristics that influence the full cease in drug and alcohol consumption.

In our research we studied people undergoing rehabilitation in different programs (nonstate 12-step, confessional, and state). Five groups of respondents participated in the research; the total number of respondents was 945.

The purpose of our research was to investigate the factors of stable remission for drug addicts in different rehabilitation programs. Our conclusion is that there are outer (social) and inner (personal) factors of stable remission.

Our research revealed that during positive remission (abstinence from taking drugs) addicts had fewer social and psychological problems, and their social and psychological personal characteristics improved; it also revealed those measures that furthered the development of remission. Respondents considered the following the most effective measures: small groups, lectures on addiction, written tasks connected with the analysis of feelings (diaries, self-analysis etc.), individual and group psychological classes, sport, introduction to faith, prayer, labour, communication with graduates of rehabilitation programs. The received data demonstrates the necessity of complex approach to rehabilitation, with regards to biological, psychological, social and spiritual components of addiction.


DOI:  10.11621/pir.2015.0411
Keywords:  drug addiction, rehabilitation and resocialization, factors of stable remission
About the authorsPetrova, Helena A. / Zavarzina, Olga O. / Kytianova, Irina P. / Kozyakov, Roman V.

Available Online: 12.30.2015

Buzina T.S. (2014) Representation of the disease, motivation sphere and medical communication as a target for prevention and treatment of HIV infection in substance users. Psychology in Russia: State of the Art, 8(2), 84-92.

The psychological aspect of treating HIV-infected substance users entails changing their behaviour, as their behaviour is what leads to the risk of them transmitting and spreading HIV. Psychological treatment must facilitate their adaptation so that they may be otherwise treated for substance abuse and HIV. We propose establishing the psychological objective of helping patients overcome substance addiction by addressing their internal representation of the disease (IRD), value-sense and motivational sphere, as well as their relationships with their physician, as this is the main person who interacts with the patient in the clinic. An IRD study of patients with an opioid dependency, complicated with infectious diseases, showed that the IPD emotional level of opioid patients, as interconditional for other levels, can be an indicator of the status and impact of the main objective. A comparative study of substance users who received psychotherapy with those not receiving psychotherapy showed that the value-sense and motivational sphere is also an important target for preventive action. A study of the physician’s image of drug treatment clinics’ patients revealed that increases in the communicative competence of drug treatment facilities’ personnel represents a third course of preventing the transmission of HIV among substance dependent patients.


DOI:  10.11621/pir.2014.0208
Keywords:  HIV-infected substance users, internal representation of the disease (IRD), value-sense and motivational sphere, the physician’s image
About the authorsBuzina, Tatyana S.

Available Online: 06.30.2014

Popinako A.V., Pugovkina O.D. (2014) Psychological factors of propensity for alcoholism (social anxiety, hostility, Machiavellianism) in depressive patients. Psychology in Russia: State of the Art, 8(2), 73-83.

Based on the analysis of psychosocial models of alcoholism and depression the general and specific factors of occurrence and course of illness are identified in the present study. The authors put forward hypotheses regarding the mechanisms of activation of psychological addiction to alcohol as an ineffective coping strategy. The necessity of empirical research needed to refine the techniques and targets of patient care within the psychiatric and psychological care is justified. The results of the pilot study show that depressed patients who are subject to alcohol dependence feature marked distress in interpersonal relations, coupled with hostility and aim at gaining profit and pleasure by manipulating other people. These patients are hostile to others, while in interpersonal relationships personal safety is important to them, so they may be more likely to resort to manipulation. In their attitudes with respect to health the communication of these patients is characterized by hedonistic tendencies and histrionic traits in interpersonal contacts.


DOI:  10.11621/pir.2014.0207
Keywords:  depression, alcoholism, hostility, Machiavellianism, social anxiety
About the authorsPopinako, Anastasiya V. / Pugovkina, Olga D.

Available Online: 06.30.2014

Bovina I.B., Dvoryanchikov N.V., Berezina E. B., Debolsky M.G., Konopleva I.N., Il’in A. V. (2014). Social representations of drugs among young Russians: shared common views and social positions. Psychology in Russia: State of the Art, 7(1), 158-168.

The official statistics reveal a steady growth of drug use in Russia and epidemiological estimations indicate that the real prevalence of intravenous drug users may be 4-5 times higher than the official figure. This fact highlights the importance of effective preventive programmes for young people. Each preventive programme in the field of public health should be based on the results of socio-psychological studies on a given problem (Gurvich, 1999). In this paper, we discuss the results of a two-stage study based on the ideas presented by social representations theory (Moscovici, 1961). Our purpose was to analyze the lay thinking about drugs among different groups of young Russians. A total of 257 respondents (162 males and 95 females) aged 16 to 35 participated in the study (the median age was 24 years). At the first stage, the ‘map’ of shared common views about drugs was revealed. At the second stage, different social positions (as a function of different experience with drugs) on this ‘map’ were analyzed. The reported results give support to our predictions.


DOI:  10.11621/pir.2014.0115
Keywords:  drugs, young Russians, social representations theory, experience of drug consumption, experience of imprisonment related to drugs
About the authorsBovina, Inna B. / Dvoryanchikov, Nikolay V.  / Berezina, Elizaveta B.  / Debolsky, Mikhail G.  / Konopleva, Inga N.  / Il’in, Aleksandr V.

Available Online: 03.30.2014