Public opinion on imposing restrictions to people with an alcohol- or drug addiction: A cross-sectional survey

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Alcohol- and drug addiction tends to evoke disapproval and rejection among people. This study provides insight into the origin of people’s negative attitudes towards these people. Corrigan’s attribution model is used to examine intentions of the Dutch public to impose restrictions to people who are addicted to alcohol or illicit drugs.
Data were derived from a cross-sectional survey among a representative panel of the Dutch population (N = 2,793). Path analyses were conducted to test the influence of attribution beliefs, emotional responses and familiarity with addictions on people’s intentions to impose restrictions to these people.
More than half of the respondents agreed with imposing restrictions to someone with an addiction such as excluding from taking public office or forbid to care for children. Corrigan’s attribution model was partially applicable to explain people’s intentions to impose restrictions, since only a rather small percentage of the variance in people’s intentions was explained by the model. The perception of personal responsibility for an addiction and high expectancy of aggressiveness have a positive influence on intentions to impose restrictions. Feelings of anger and fear were also predictors of intentions to impose restrictions.
The Dutch public showed high intentions to restrict people with an alcohol- or drug addiction which has an extensive impact on their life opportunities. Perceived aggressiveness, feeling of anger and fear, and perceived responsibility were associated with higher intentions to impose restrictions.
Keywords: Substance-related disorders, Public opinion, Social stigma, Social discrimination
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2007-2016
JournalSocial Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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