Physicians' Beliefs about the nature of addiction: a survey of primary care physicians and psychiatrists.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Society debates whether addiction is a disease, a response to psychological woundedness, or moral failing. METHOD: We surveyed a national sample of 1427 US primary care physicians (PCPs) and 487 psychiatrists, asking "In your judgment, to what extent is alcoholism/drug addiction each of the following? A) a disease B) a response to psychological woundedness C) a result of moral failings." RESULTS: The response rate was 63% for PCPs and 64% for psychiatrists. More psychiatrists than PCPs consider addiction a disease (64% versus 56%). Some PCPs (31%) and psychiatrists (27%) attribute addiction to psychological woundedness. More psychiatrists than PCPs said addiction is "not at all" due to moral failings (55% versus 39%). CONCLUSIONS AND SCIENTIFIC SIGNIFICANCE: The disease model for addiction is prominent among physicians, but exists alongside beliefs that addiction is a response to psychological woundedness, or a result of moral failings.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Lawrence, RE; Rasinski, KA; Yoon, JD; Curlin, FA

Published Date

  • May 2013

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 22 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 255 - 260

PubMed ID

  • 23617868

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1521-0391

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1111/j.1521-0391.2012.00332.x


  • eng

Conference Location

  • England