Mindsets of Addiction: Implications for Treatment Intentions
The goal of the current work is to contribute to the critical dialogue regarding consequences of different communications about the nature of addiction by offering a new theoretical approach. Specifically, the researchers merge a mindset perspective, which highlights the importance of beliefs regarding the malleability of human attributes, with the attribution literature to explore how messages stressing the changeable vs. fixed nature of addiction influence beliefs and treatment intentions.
The researchers crafted a message about addiction designed to induce the belief in the potential to change without influencing self-blame (compensatory-growth mindset message) and compared it to a message focused on the fixed underpinnings of addiction (disease-fixed mindset message).
In an online sample of probable substance users (N = 214), the researchers found that the compensatory-growth, relative to the disease-fixed message, led to participants reporting stronger growth mindsets and efficacy without an impact on blame.
Additionally, the compensatory-growth, relative to the disease-fixed message, led to stronger intentions to pursue counseling and cognitive behavioral treatment therapies.
The current work finds support for an innovative theoretical approach for understanding motivation to seek treatment among individuals with probable substance use problems.
Overall, our findings support moving away from messaging about addiction solely as a disease,” said Sarah Desmarais, co-author of the research, as per NC State University News.
Instead, the finding suggests that it would be more helpful to talk about the many different reasons people become addicted.”
The findings also highlight the potential to use growth mindset interventions to help substance users engage in effective treatments,” said Jeni Burnette co-author of the research as per NC State University News.