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The labels and models used to describe problematic substance use impact discrete elements of stigma: A registered report.

Pennington, CR, Monk, RL, Heim, D, Rose, AK, Gough, T, Clarke, R, Knibb, G, Patel, R, Rai, P, Ravat, H, Ali, R, Anastasiou, G, Asgari, F, Bate, E, Bourke, T, Boyles, J, Campbell, A, Fowler, N, Hester, S, Neil, C , McIntyre, B, Ogilvy, E, Renouf, A, Stafford, J, Toothill, K, Wong, HK and Jones, A (2023) The labels and models used to describe problematic substance use impact discrete elements of stigma: A registered report. Psychology of addictive behaviors : journal of the Society of Psychologists in Addictive Behaviors. ISSN 0893-164X

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Objectives: Problematic substance use is one of the most stigmatized health conditions leading research to examine how the labels and models used to describe it influence public stigma. Two recent studies examine whether beliefs in a disease model of addiction influence public stigma but result in equivocal findings—in line with the mixed-blessings model, Kelly et al. (2021) found that while the label “chronically relapsing brain disease” reduced blame attribution, it decreased prognostic optimism and increased perceived danger and need for continued care; however, Rundle et al. (2021) conclude absence of evidence. This study isolates the different factors used in these two studies to assess whether health condition (drug use vs. health concern), etiological label (brain disease vs. problem), and attributional judgment (low vs. high treatment stability) influence public stigma toward problematic substance use.
Method: Overall, 1,613 participants were assigned randomly to one of the eight vignette conditions that manipulated these factors. They completed self-report measures of discrete and general public stigma and an indirect measure of discrimination.
Results: Greater social distance, danger, and public stigma but lower blame were ascribed to drug use relative to a health concern. Greater (genetic) blame was reported when drug use was labelled as a “chronically relapsing brain disease” relative to a “problem.” Findings for attributional judgment were either inconclusive or statistically equivalent.
Discussion: The labels used to describe problematic substance use appear to impact discrete elements of stigma. We suggest that addiction is a functional attribution, which may explain the mixed literature on the impact of etiological labels on stigma to date.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1701 Psychology; Substance Abuse
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Divisions: Psychology (from Sep 2019)
Publisher: American Psychological Association (APA)
SWORD Depositor: A Symplectic
Date Deposited: 16 May 2023 10:51
Last Modified: 16 May 2023 10:51
DOI or ID number: 10.1037/adb0000919
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/19497
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