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Centre for Addictive Behaviours Research


We bring together a unique blend of world-class research, scholarship, training and enterprise activity to understand the psychosocial causes, effects and treatments of addictive behaviours

Leader: Professor Ian Albery, Director of Research and Enterprise and Professor of Psychology, School of Applied Sciences

Addictive behaviours affect large numbers of the UK’s population, with significant numbers either abusing substances, or behaving in such a way as to be harmful to the individual and those around them. Moreover, every year the UK spends billions of pounds on healthcare, welfare and policing services associated with managing addictive behaviours.

With this in mind, the Centre for Addictive Behaviours Research plays a vital role in increasing understanding and knowledge of how addictive behaviours operate, so they can be changed and managed for the benefit of affected individuals and those who treat and manage these behaviours.

We serve as a hub for internationally esteemed research into the causes, effects and treatment of addictive behaviours. We also provide expert consultancy to organisations on the analysis of current and developing treatments and policy practice.

Past and current collaborative work has covered numerous addictive behaviours including alcohol use, smoking, e-cigarette use, sexual compulsivity, cannabis use, methadone use, internet use, performance enhancing drugs, novel psychoactive substances and social media use.

Key research areas include:

  • social identity approaches (how peoples’ self-image affects their behaviour)
  • metacognitive approaches (how peoples’ mental control strategies perpetuate addictive behaviours and how these can be modified)
  • public policy approaches (how we can use messages and legislation to reduce harm)
  • automatic and reflective ‘dual process’ models (how addictive behaviours are influenced by conscious and non-conscious thought)
  • psychopharmacological approaches (the impact of chemicals on brain and body)

We are actively involved in user engagement and impact, for example: development of training guidelines for the Federation of Drug and Alcohol Professionals and the National Centre for Smoking Cessation and Training, e-cigarette briefing for stop-smoking services and evaluation of the Allen Carr Easyway stop smoking programme.

Our core membership is responsible for the delivery and maintenance of the highly successful MSc in Addiction Psychology and Counselling (Federation of Drug and Alcohol Professionals [FDAP] accredited) and attracting training bursaries from Alcohol Research UK and the Society for the Study of Addiction).

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