Session: Social Psychological Perspectives on the Prevention of Substance Use Behaviors (Society for Prevention Research 23rd Annual Meeting)

(4-008) Social Psychological Perspectives on the Prevention of Substance Use Behaviors

Friday, May 29, 2015: 8:30 AM-10:00 AM
Regency C (Hyatt Regency Washington)
Theme: Epidemiology and Etiology
Symposium Organizer:
Tonya Dodge
Tonya Dodge
Presentation Type: Organized Paper Symposium

Category/Theme: Epidemiology and Etiology

Session Introduction:There is increasing emphasis placed on understanding the neurological underpinnings of addiction. While important, this emphasis has the potential to overshadow the crucial role of the social environment. Factors in the social environment are often modifiable making them effective points for prevention and intervention.  However, a first step in building such prevention programs requires identifying the ways in which such factors could be modified and whether there is evidence that changing these factors will lead to a reduction in addictive behaviors. Using different social psychological frameworks the speakers will: 1) identify factors in the social environment that contribute to the initiation and maintenance of substance use and 2) discuss how this work can be used to develop prevention programs that target tobacco and drug use.

The first speaker will explain how the social environment can deplete self-control strength that is needed to remain abstinent. A series of three randomized controlled experiments demonstrated that depleting self-control strength via every day behaviors (e.g., resisting tempting foods and exposure to smoking in the media) leads to an increase in smoking behaviors. 

The second speaker will discuss a study that used a mixed-methods design that combined eye-tracking methodology with structured interviews to examine beliefs, in particular harm and addiction, related to print advertisements for an emerging tobacco product, snus, among young adult (18-29) male smokers. Results show how exposure to advertisements, as assessed with gaze, influences beliefs about the addictive potential of tobacco products.

 The third speaker will discuss variables that are particularly important for understanding addiction among African American youth including the experience of racial discrimination.  A series of studies that include longitudinal and experimental designs showed that racial discrimination predicted substance use cognitions and behaviors. The studies identified mediators and moderators of the relationship between discrimination and substance use behaviors. 

A discussant will moderate dialogue about the contributions each study makes to the theoretical frameworks that guided the research and the way in which the studies can be used to guide substance use prevention or intervention programs.

* noted as presenting author
Perceptions of Harm and Addiction of Snus: A Mixed Methods Study
Annette Kaufman, PhD, National Cancer Institute
Racial Discrimination and Substance Use: Mediating and Buffering Mechanisms
Michelle Stock, PhD, George Washington University; Frederick Gibbons, PhD, University of Connecticut