What does 'acceptance' mean? Public reflections on the idea that addiction is a brain disease

Meurk, Carla, Hall, Wayne, Morphett, Kylie, Carter, Adrian and Lucke, Jayne (2013) What does 'acceptance' mean? Public reflections on the idea that addiction is a brain disease. BioSocieties, 8 4: 491-506. doi:10.1057/biosoc.2013.24

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Author Meurk, Carla
Hall, Wayne
Morphett, Kylie
Carter, Adrian
Lucke, Jayne
Title What does 'acceptance' mean? Public reflections on the idea that addiction is a brain disease
Journal name BioSocieties   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1745-8552
Publication date 2013-12-01
Year available 2013
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1057/biosoc.2013.24
Open Access Status File (Author Post-print)
Volume 8
Issue 4
Start page 491
End page 506
Total pages 16
Place of publication Basingstoke, Hants, United Kingdom
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan
Language eng
Subject 2719 Health Policy
3306 Health (social science)
Abstract Public responses to the dissemination of neuroscientific explanations of addiction and other mental disorders are an interesting sociocultural phenomenon. We investigated how 55 members of the Australian public deliberated on the idea that 'addiction is a brain disease'. Our findings point to the diverse ways in which the public understands and utilises this proposition. Interviewees readily accepted that drugs affect brain functioning but were ambivalent about whether to label addiction as a 'disease'. Contrary to the prediction of neuroscientific advocates and social science critics, acceptance of a neurobiological conception of addiction did not necessarily affect beliefs about addicted persons' responsibility for their addiction. We discuss the theoretical and applied implications of these findings. Theoretically, we examine the complexity surrounding how people adopt new knowledge and its role in reshaping ethical beliefs. We also discuss the implications of these findings for the ethics of communication of neuroscientific information to reduce stigma and enhance social support for the treatment of addicted individuals.
Keyword Addiction
Discourse resonance
Health communication
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: UQ Centre for Clinical Research Publications
Official 2014 Collection
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 8 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 11 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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