Concepts of drugs: Differences in conceptual structure across groups with different levels of drug experience

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

Seventy-seven college students varying in degree of drug use experience rated the perceived similarities of all possible combinations of 16 drug classes (cigarettes, other tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, barbiturates, minor and major tranquilizers, amphetamines, amphetamine derivatives, cocaine, heroin, opiates, hallucinogens, inhalants, PCP, anti-depressants). Multi-dimensional scaling (INDSCAL) and network models (PFNET) indicated that abstainers had only one pharmacological category involving sedatives/depressants, and that they attached move importance to whether drugs were licit vs. illicit than to whether they were depressants vs. stimulants. Conceptions became more coherent, differentiated and based on pharmacological properties for more experienced drug users. In line with previous work groups with greater experience with drugs had more sophisticated conceptions not only about the drugs they had used, but also about drugs they had not used. These findings suggest that early on in drug behavior sophisticated and interrelated concepts are developing that should be taken into account when designing interventions and information campaigns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)847-858
Number of pages12
JournalAddiction
Volume92
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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