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Session: 2022/23

Last modified: 21/03/2022 13:13:49

Title of Module: Psychological Theory of Addiction

Code: POAB11005 SCQF Level: 11
(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 commence by introducing the concept of substance-based and behaviour-based addiction disorders and consider measurement and historical issues related to addiction from a psychological perspective. Students will be exposed to and critically evaluate the core psychological theories available that attempt to explain the development and maintenance of addiction disorders. The module will introduce the most prominent theories from each of the core psychological domains, including: Cognitive Theories, Biological Models, Learning and Conditioning Perspectives, Social/Group Processes and Clinical Perspectives.

The module will also critically explore the strengths and limitations of the unidimensional theories and introduce multi-dimensional models that integrate salient features from each of the psychological domains. The module will be delivered via lectures to provide theoretical content, and workshops and seminars will be utilised to critically discuss and evaluate theory.

This module will develop the following graduate attributes: 

Critical Thinker
Socially responsible
Effective Communicator 

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 1check markTerm 2


Term 3


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Learning Outcomes: (maximum of 5 statements)

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

L1. Apply clinical, cognitive, behavioural, biological, and/or social psychological models to the typical real-world issues of Addiction

L2. Describe, contextualise and integrate individual psychological risk factors into models of Addiction

L3. Conceptualise Addiction Disorder as a psychological construct from a critical perspective

L4. Appreciate the integrative and multidimensional nature of psychological approaches to Addiction Disorder

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 11.

Specialist knowledge in psychological theories of addiction.
Critical understanding of the concept of Addiction Disorder.
Critical understanding of integrative models explaining development and maintenance of Addiction Disorder.

Practice: Applied Knowledge and Understanding SCQF Level 11.

Applying knowledge and understanding of addiction theory to typical real-world addiction-related issues.

Generic Cognitive skills SCQF Level 11.

Critical analysis of current empirical evidence and theoretical models.
Assimilate peer-reviewed evidence and develop evidence-based arguments.

Communication, ICT and Numeracy Skills SCQF Level 11.

Articulate complex evidence-based arguments in written composition.
Articulate complex evidence-based arguments in verbal presentations.

Autonomy, Accountability and Working with others SCQF Level 11.

Verbal discussion with peer learners.
Group-based problem solving with peer learners.

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

* Indicates that module descriptor is not published.

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Learning and Teaching
Lectures will be used to introduce and examine salient theories of addiction disorder. Students will be expected to undertake significant independent reading and engage in reflective learning tasks on a weekly basis. Independent reading and lecture content will facilitate seminars and workshops, where theories will be discussed in detail and critically evaluated.
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 Delivery16
Tutorial/Synchronous Support Activity20
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:

Davis, P., Patton, R. & Jackson, S. (2017). Addiction: Psychology and treatment. Chichester, West Sussex, Wiley.

West, R., & Brown, J. (2013). Theory of addiction (2nd ed.). Wiley-Blackwell.

Recommended Reading:

Chandler, C., & Andrews, A. (2019). Addiction: A biopsychosocial perspective. Los Angeles: SAGE.

Heather, N. & Segal, G. (2017). Addiction and choice: Rethinking the relationship. Oxford University Press.

Moss, A. C., & Dyer, K. R. (2010). Psychology of addictive behaviour. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.

Sussman, S. (Ed.). (2020). The Cambridge Handbook of Substance and Behavioral Addictions (Cambridge Handbooks in Psychology). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Recommended journals including but not limited to:

Addiction Theory and Research; Addiction; Psychology of Addictive Behaviors; Journal of Behavioral Addictions; Addictive Behaviors.

(**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:
Full details of the engagement requirements for this programme can be found under on the programme Moodle site.
Any specific requirements for individual modules will also be advised by the module co-ordinator.

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Supplemental Information

Programme BoardPsychology & Social Work
Assessment Results (Pass/Fail) No
Subject PanelPsychology
ModeratorL Troup
External ExaminerA Harris
Accreditation Details
Version Number


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Assessment: (also refer to Assessment Outcomes Grids below)
Assessment 1. Presentation. Assessment requires the verbal critical evaluation of recent peer-reviewed empirical research (15 minutes). 50% of Module Mark.

Assessment 2. Essay. Assessment requires a 2500 word essay. 50% of Module Mark.
(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
Presentationcheck mark check mark 500

Component 2
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Learning Outcome (4) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Essaycheck markcheck markcheck markcheck mark500
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 the Virtual Learning Environment, learning materials will be presented electronically in formats that allow flexible access and manipulation of content (part-time and distant learning students should check with their programme leader for any queries). 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:

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