Environments and Addiction: A Proposed Taxonomy
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When reviewing the broad area that relates environments to addiction one is faced with an enormous volume of research with differing environmental and psychosocial factors, contrasting populations, a variety of addictive substances, and a range of addiction processes. For all these factors, there are important outcome variables. To survey this disparate literature, it is helpful to use a multiaxial model as a framework or taxonomy. In this way it is possible to see the effects that environments, broadly conceived, exert on addictive behaviors. A variety of environments is considered: interpersonal, organizational, cultural and physical, as one axis or dimension. The influence of this dimension on a second dimension relating to type of addiction is also examined. Finally, a dimension pertaining to the "life history" of addictions, from acquisition through maintenance, cessation, and relapse is considered in relation to the first two dimensions. While a variety of environmental factors affect addictive behaviors, current research indicates the need to take individual differences, cognitive mediation, and the interaction of the person with the environment into account. Significant areas that need further exploration are the failure of addictions to occur in some environments, and the development of secondary prevention approaches. Implications for intervention and directions for future research are suggested.
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