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The Role of Repression in The Pathogenesis of Alcoholism.

Martin, Colin. (1996) The Role of Repression in The Pathogenesis of Alcoholism. Doctoral thesis, University of Surrey (United Kingdom)..

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Abstract

An investigation was conducted to investigate the role of repression in the development of alcoholism. Drawing on psychoanalytic and contemporary approaches to the notion of repressive defense, the experiments conducted examined the recall of childhood memories as dependent variables on which subjects repressive defense performance was evaluated. It was found that abstinent alcoholics differed significantly from controls on a number of indices of recall. Alcoholics exhibited a recall profile that indicated strongly that they failed to repress negative affective memories. Confirmatory evidence for the notion of repression failure in alcoholics was found by the observation that there were relatively few alcoholic 'repressors', determined by the intersection of trait anxiety and defensiveness measures. The alcoholic subjects also tended to associate relatively more emotional intensity with recalled negative childhood memories. This was not expected and suggests that the alcoholics repressive defense pattern is representative of a more fundamental information-processing deficit than merely a failure to repress. To define this newly observed phenomenon, the term 'pararepression' was introduced. A further study was conducted to investigate the possibility that the repression deficit observed in alcoholics may be inter-generationally transmitted. It was observed that nonalcoholic adult children of alcoholics (ACOA's) demonstrated a similar recall profile to that of alcoholic subjects, essentially ACOA's failed to repress and showed evidence of the pararepressive phenomenon observed in alcoholics. It was further observed that important psychosocial constructs including parental bonding differences observed between groups were important predictors of retrieval performance. A composite variable was generated using discriminant function analysis and this revealed that ACOA's were much more similar to alcoholics than they were to the control group. Importantly, variables that are believed to be indicative of early adaptive relationship formation were found to be associated with retrieval performance and psychopathology. In effect, early experiences would appear to influence adult retrieval performance. An investigation into the effect of an acute dose of alcohol on retrieval performance, and a study of the relationship between repression, consumption of alcohol, and menstrual cycle phase were conducted to examine methodological issues salient to repressive defense. Implications of the findings were discussed and the direction of future research indicated.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Divisions : Theses
Authors : Martin, Colin.
Date : 1996
Additional Information : Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Surrey (United Kingdom), 1996.
Depositing User : EPrints Services
Date Deposited : 06 May 2020 13:07
Last Modified : 06 May 2020 13:13
URI: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/id/eprint/855957

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