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The perception of drinking roles by recovering problem drinkers

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 July 2009

John McCartney*
Department of Psychology, University of Glasgow
Patrick J. O'Donnell
Department of Psychology, University of Glasgow
1 Address for correspondence: Mr J. McCartney, Department of Psychology, Washington Singer Laboratories, Exeter University, Exeter EX4 4QG.


The perception of and attitude to drinking patterns in recovering problem drinkers (N = 29) is analysed, utilizing a similar methodology to that of Richard & Burley (1978). Fault is found, however, in the latter study both in a failure to define variables and in the authors' statistical handling of the results. In the present study, it was found that controlled drinking is only seen as close to the problem drinker's concept of himself when it entails reasonably high levels of consumption. The importance of this finding for therapy is outlined. The possible negative effects of role conflict are mentioned. It is also found that problem drinkers perceive themselves as having quite different characteristics from those they themselves attribute to alcoholics. This finding is interpreted in terms of the fundamental attribution error (Jones & Nisbett, 1972).

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1981

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