Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Young People and Addictive Behaviour

LEVEL 03 - Years 2, 3, 4 in Modular Undergraduate Course


DEPARTMENT Youth and Community Studies

DESCRIPTION This study-unit explores the construct of addiction and gives an introduction to the complexity of understanding the phenomenon. A major theme throughout the unit is the proposal that the term ‘addictive behaviour’ may be applied to a wide range of behaviour. This unit explores the contribution of biology, psychology and sociology to the understanding, prevention and intervention with people experiencing addictive difficulties. The unit will range from the purely descriptive, focusing on the terminology used, to the more theoretical (different perspectives on addiction), to prevention and intervention. Substance based addictions have been the subject of a considerable amount of scientific enquiry.

Study-unit Aims

This unit will draw upon developments in the understanding of substance use to inform thinking and practice relating to non- substance based addictions. The issue of substance use will also be given considerable attention.The topics included in the unit are:The construct of addiction, Chemical dependency, Behavioural and process addictions, Professional interventions, Societal considerations, Prevention.

Learning Outcomes

1. Knowledge & Understanding:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

• Critically analyse the construct of addiction;
• Demonstrate insight into contemporary debates and issues surrounding the nature of addictive behaviour;
• Comprehend the terminology utilised in the study of addictive behaviour;
• Demonstrate knowledge of the theoretical perspectives on addiction;
• Evaluate approaches to intervention and prevention.

2. Skills:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

• Critically engage with the subject matter;
• Develop sensitivity to the often contradictory discourse in the field of addictive behaviour;
• Apply course material to the local context and to youth work practice.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings
(availability at the Library or otherwise is indicated against each entry)

Baer, J., Marlatt, G. & McMahon, R. (eds.) (1993). Addictive Behaviours across the Lifespan: prevention, treatment and policy issues London: Sage. [unavailable]

Dowieko, H. (2002) Concepts of Chemical Dependency California: Brooks Cole. [unavailable]

Ghodse, H. (1989) Drugs and Addictive Behaviour: A Guide to Treatment. London: Blackwell. [available]

Orford, J. (2001) Excessive Appetites: A Psychological View of Addictions NY:John Wiley and Sons [available]

Peele, S. (1998) The Meaning of Addiction: An Unconventional View. CA:Jossey-Bass. [unavailable]

Stewart, T. (1987) The Heroin Users. London: Harper Collins. [unavailable]

Walters, D. (1994) Drugs and Crime in Lifestyle Perspective. London: Sage. [ unavailable]

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture and Independent Study

Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Assignment SEM2 Yes 100%


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It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2020/1. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.