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Session: 2022/23

Last modified: 29/03/2022 11:47:17

Title of Module: Psychology of Addictive Behaviours

Code: PSYC10025 SCQF Level: 10
(Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework)
Credit Points: 20 ECTS: 10
(European Credit Transfer Scheme)
School:School of Education & Social Sciences
Module Co-ordinator:A  Parke

Summary of Module

This module will introduce students to the field of the psychology of addiction. The module will present different perspectives on addiction including, but not limited to, psychobiological, cognitive, clinical and applied social neuroscience approaches to understand and describe the addiction process. The definition of addiction presented in this course will focus on a scientist-practitioner model of understanding addiction in its widest form, including, but not limited to, drugs, alcohol, sex, video games, gambling, shopping etc. In addition to examining different perspectives, the module will focus on the psychopharmacology of addiction and the reward system, as well as social and cultural issues in addictions, treatment approaches and the links between research, policy and practice.

Students will be given the opportunity to select and review contemporary research in the field pertaining primarily to psychological approaches. They will develop key transferable skills to position them to advance to further training in the field of addictions as well as applying their skills to have a better understanding of these issues when they encounter them in everyday life.

Through assessment two, they will build on existing skills from the undergraduate programme in interpreting and using the relevant literature to inform debate and foster understanding of the current issues in contemporary addiction science.

This module will develop the following graduate attributes: 

Critical Thinking, 



Problem Solver, 




  • Introduction to addictions with a focus on different perspectives and theories.

  • Psychopharmacology of addiction: effects on brain and behaviour.

  • Social and Cultural issues in addiction.

  • Substance v non-substance-related addiction.

  • A detailed knowledge of contemporary issues in the psychology of addictions and their application to inform and interpret policy.

Module Delivery Method
Face-To-FaceBlendedFully OnlineHybridCHybridOWork-based Learning
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Term used to describe the traditional classroom environment where the students and the lecturer meet synchronously in the same room for the whole provision.

A mode of delivery of a module or a programme that involves online and face-to-face delivery of learning, teaching and assessment activities, student support and feedback. A programme may be considered “blended” if it includes a combination of face-to-face, online and blended modules. If an online programme has any compulsory face-to-face and campus elements it must be described as blended with clearly articulated delivery information to manage student expectations

Fully Online
Instruction that is solely delivered by web-based or internet-based technologies. This term is used to describe the previously used terms distance learning and e learning.

Online with mandatory face-to-face learning on Campus

Online with optional face-to-face learning on Campus

Work-based Learning
Learning activities where the main location for the learning experience is in the workplace.

Campus(es) for Module Delivery
The module will normally be offered on the following campuses / or by Distance/Online Learning: (Provided viable student numbers permit)
Paisley:Ayr:Dumfries:Lanarkshire:London:Distance/Online Learning:Other:
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Term(s) for Module Delivery
(Provided viable student numbers permit).
Term 1


Term 2check markTerm 3


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Learning Outcomes: (maximum of 5 statements)

On successful completion of this module the student will be able to:

L1. Describe, contrast and evaluate different perspectives of addiction.

L2. Demonstrate a critical awareness of the complex psychopharmacological process underlying addictions.

L3. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the relationships between theory, research, policy and practice in addictions.

L4. Critically evaluate and contribute to theoretical arguments in in addictions.

Employability Skills and Personal Development Planning (PDP) Skills
SCQF Headings During completion of this module, there will be an opportunity to achieve core skills in:
Knowledge and Understanding (K and U) SCQF Level 10.

Develop the ability to identify relevant, contemporary sources of information relevant to the psychology of addictions

Demonstrate a critical understanding of the principal theories, concepts and principles in addiction research

Practice: Applied Knowledge and Understanding SCQF Level 10.

Collate and interpret data relating to different perspectives in addiction research
Evaluate the current research and contribute to a debate on a contemporary issue in addictions.

Generic Cognitive skills SCQF Level 10.

Offer professional sights, interpretations and solutions to problems and issues.

Evaluate research evidence

Communication, ICT and Numeracy Skills SCQF Level 10.

Communicate information effectively through online seminars
and written and oral presentations
Make effective use of information retrieval systems

Use a range of ICT applications to support and enhance work at this level and specify software requirements to enhance work.
Critically evaluate numerical and graphical data.

Autonomy, Accountability and Working with others SCQF Level 10.

Time management

Group discussion and collaboration in a workshop and online activities

Pre-requisites: Before undertaking this module the student should have undertaken the following:
Module Code:
Module Title:
Applying Psychology Methods
Co-requisitesModule Code:
Module Title:

* Indicates that module descriptor is not published.

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Learning and Teaching
This module will be delivered using a hybrid approach in which students are encouraged to engage with the module through three learning activities, presented both synchronously and asynchronously. Students will be encouraged to engage asynchronously with pre-recorded lecture content designed to provide students with an overview of the topic area. Pre-recorded lecture material will be complimented with a series of asynchronous and synchronous activities to be undertaken in the student's own time or by the students/instructor simultaneously as appropriate

The main theories and concepts relevant to the psychology of addictions will be presented in the lectures whilst the seminars will provide the opportunity for examining selected topics in more detail. The seminars will also provide the students with the opportunity to identify and address some of their own learning needs, within a student-centred learning approach.

A central element in the students’ learning experience will be their engagement with current methodical practices and innovations in studying addictive behaviours from a psychological perspective.
Learning Activities
During completion of this module, the learning activities undertaken to achieve the module learning outcomes are stated below:
Student Learning Hours
(Normally totalling 200 hours):
(Note: Learning hours include both contact hours and hours spent on other learning activities)
Lecture/Core Content Delivery12
Tutorial/Synchronous Support Activity24
Laboratory/Practical Demonstration/Workshop0
Asynchronous Class Activity0
Independent Study164
200 Hours Total

**Indicative Resources: (eg. Core text, journals, internet access)

The following materials form essential underpinning for the module content and ultimately for the learning outcomes:

no essential reading-reading taken from contemporary journal articles

resources would include
Addiction, Psychology of Addictive Behaviours, Addictive Behaviours, PLOS ONE, Frontiers, Clinical and Experimental Psychopharmacology, Journal of Psychopharmacology, Pharmacology, Alcohol: Clinical and Experimental Research.

(**N.B. Although reading lists should include current publications, students are advised (particularly for material marked with an asterisk*) to wait until the start of session for confirmation of the most up-to-date material)

Engagement Requirements

In line with the Academic Engagement Procedure, Students are defined as academically engaged if they are regularly engaged with timetabled teaching sessions, course-related learning resources including those in the Library and on the relevant learning platform, and complete assessments and submit these on time. Please refer to the Academic Engagement Procedure at the following link: Academic engagement procedure

Where a module has Professional, Statutory or Regulatory Body requirements these will be listed here:
All fulltime students (part-time and distant learning students should check with their programme leader for any queries) are required to attend all scheduled classes and participate with all delivered elements of the module as part of their engagement with their programme of study. Consideration will be given to students who have protection under the appropriate equality law. Please refer to UWS Regulations, Chapter 1, 1.64 – 1.67, available at the following link:

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Supplemental Information

Programme BoardPsychology & Social Work
Assessment Results (Pass/Fail) No
Subject PanelUg/Pg Psychology
ModeratorG Bruce
External ExaminerTBC
Accreditation DetailsBOS
Version Number


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Assessment: (also refer to Assessment Outcomes Grids below)
A written coursework such a critical review or structured review- worth 40%
Presentation - worth 60%
(N.B. (i) Assessment Outcomes Grids for the module (one for each component) can be found below which clearly demonstrate how the learning outcomes of the module will be assessed.
(ii) An indicative schedule listing approximate times within the academic calendar when assessment is likely to feature will be provided within the Student Handbook.)

Assessment Outcome Grids (Footnote A.)

Component 1
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Learning Outcome (4) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Review/ Article/ Critique/ Papercheck markcheck markcheck mark 400

Component 2
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Learning Outcome (4) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Presentationcheck markcheck markcheck markcheck mark600
Combined Total For All Components100% 0 hours

A. Referred to within Assessment Section above
B. Identified in the Learning Outcome Section above

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  1. More than one assessment method can be used to assess individual learning outcomes.
  2. Schools are responsible for determining student contact hours. Please refer to University Policy on contact hours (extract contained within section 10 of the Module Descriptor guidance note).
    This will normally be variable across Schools, dependent on Programmes &/or Professional requirements.

Equality and Diversity
Aligned with the overall commitment to equality and diversity stated in the Programme Specifications, the module supports equality of opportunity for students from all backgrounds and with different learning needs. Using Moodle, learning materials will be presented electronically in formats that allow flexible access and manipulation of content. The module complies with University regulations and guidance on inclusive learning and teaching practice. Specialist assistive equipment, support provision and adjustment to assessment practice will be made in accordance with UWS policy and regulations. The University’s Equality, Diversity and Human Rights Policy can be accessed at the following link:

Our partners are fully committed to the principles and practice of inclusiveness and our modules are designed to be accessible to all. Where this module is delivered overseas, local equivalent support for students and appropriate legislation applies.

UWS Equality and Diversity Policy

UWS Equality and Diversity Policy
(N.B. Every effort will be made by the University to accommodate any equality and diversity issues brought to the attention of the School)

2014 University of the West of Scotland

University of the West of Scotland is a Registered Scottish Charity.

Charity number SC002520.