Public attitudes in Australia towards the claim that addiction is a (brain) disease

Meurk, Carla, Partridge, Brad, Carter, Adrian, Hall, Wayne, Morphett, Kylie and Lucke, Jayne (2014) Public attitudes in Australia towards the claim that addiction is a (brain) disease. Drug and Alcohol Review, 33 3: 272-279. doi:10.1111/dar.12115

Author Meurk, Carla
Partridge, Brad
Carter, Adrian
Hall, Wayne
Morphett, Kylie
Lucke, Jayne
Title Public attitudes in Australia towards the claim that addiction is a (brain) disease
Journal name Drug and Alcohol Review   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1465-3362
Publication date 2014-05-01
Year available 2014
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/dar.12115
Volume 33
Issue 3
Start page 272
End page 279
Total pages 8
Place of publication Chichester, West Sussex, United Kingdom
Publisher Blackwell Publishing
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Introduction and Aims: We investigated the Australian public's understandings of addiction to alcohol and heroin and the factors predicting support for the idea that these types of addiction are 'diseases' and specifically 'brain diseases'. Design and Methods: Data were collected as part of the 2012 Queensland Social Survey, a computer-assisted telephone interview of 1263 residents of Queensland, Australia. Participants were presented with scenarios of two addicted persons, one who was addicted to heroin and the other addicted to alcohol. Participants were asked a series of questions about different definitions and causes of addiction for both characters. Results: Over half of the respondents thought that addiction is a disease (alcohol: 67%, heroin: 53%), but fewer (alcohol: 34%, heroin: 33%) believed that addiction is a brain disease. Belief that addiction has biological causes predicted agreement that addiction is a disease [alcohol: odds ratio (OR)=3.05 (2.15-4.31), heroin: OR=3.99 (2.82-5.65)] and a brain disease [alcohol: OR=4.97 (3.42-7.22), heroin: OR=14.12 (9.23-21.61)]. Women were more likely than men to agree that addiction is a disease [alcohol: OR=1.79 (1.35-2.38), heroin: OR=1.40 (1.09-1.81)] as were those 35 years of age and older [alcohol: OR=2.25 (1.50-3.40), heroin: OR=1.50 (1.01-2.24)]. Discussion and Conclusions: There is more public support for the idea that addiction is a 'disease' than for the more specific claim that it is a 'brain disease'. Support for a biological aetiology of addiction predicted higher levels of agreement with both disease concepts.
Keyword Alcohol
Brain disease model of addiction
Public attitude
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 2015 Collection
Version Filter Type
Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 6 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 7 times in Scopus Article | Citations
Google Scholar Search Google Scholar
Created: Tue, 20 May 2014, 12:26:07 EST by System User on behalf of UQ Centre for Clinical Research