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December 2022

A community study of natural change across the addictions

Journal/Book: Addict Res. 1996; 4: C/O Stbs Ltd, PO Box 90, Reading, Berks, England RG1 8JL. Harwood Acad Publ GmbH. 65-83.

Abstract: Investigations of natural change in the addictive behaviours (excessive eating and alcohol, tobacco, drug use) focus on those individuals who alter their use without clinical intervention. The broad findings are consistent across studies. However, it is argued that reports insufficiently differentiate motivation regarding change and techniques or methods for attaining such goals; there is also an emphasis on stages rather than processes of change. Most samples involve those who are highly dependent users acid almost all studies look at only one addictive behaviour. The present study utilises a general population sample to investigate the frequency of natural change in a range of dependencies. It also examines individuals' accounts of the processes involved in such change. Both semi-structured interview and questionnaire data are reported. Attempted change in smoking and eating were particularly common in this sample. Although most participants emphasise motivational Factors a range of techniques are also often utilised. The possibility that the results are, in part, an artifact of the methodology is critically discussed. Differences between the addictions and the perceived importance of social factors in the maintenance of change are highlighted. The discussion also stresses the need for an integrative approach to future research and offers suggestions for methodological improvements.

Note: Article J Mccartney, City London Polytech, Dept Psychol, Calcutta House, Old Castle St, London E1 7NT, England

Keyword(s): natural change; addictive/excessive behaviours; motivation; techniques; attributions; SPONTANEOUS REMISSION; ALCOHOLISM; SMOKERS

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