Plenary Session 2

Assessing and changing implicit cognitive processes in addiction: does it generalize from substance-related to non-substance-related addictions?

Jim McCambridge, Addictive Behaviours & Public Health, University of York, UK

Chair: R. Saitz

Abstract: It is an objective of INEBRIA to promote the integration of the study of brief interventions for hazardous and harmful substance use with the wider context of measures to prevent and reduce substance-related harm. Alcohol industry framing of key ideas about the nature of alcohol problems has an important role in thinking about alcohol and wider neo-liberal ideas are influential in thinking about policy responses. Limitations of the existing evidence base and weaknesses in research translation mean that it may be unlikely that the implementation of brief intervention programmes alone will make any difference to population health. Current versions of brief interventions may be simply too weak to contend with the pressures of stereotypical ideas, an alcogenic environment sustained by alcohol marketing, and weak policy measures.

It is proposed that in order to address ideas about alcohol and alcohol problems a broader conceptualisation of brief interventions is needed that can help people make more informed decisions about their relationships with alcohol.  This can be achieved, in part, by creating a new discourse on the nature of alcohol problems and developing intervention content that is not limited to the self-regulation of one’s own behaviour. Ideas that permit progress in this direction are conducive to integration with population-level intervention components. Digital and in-person brief intervention can both play important roles in developing more effective policy responses.

Jim McCambridge holds the Chair in Addictive Behaviours & Public Health at the University of York.  He has well developed research interests across alcohol, drugs and other addictions and in research methodology. He is also Visiting Professor at Linkoping University in Sweden, and Conjoint Professor at the University of Newcastle in Australia. Jim has held editorial board positions on various journals and performed expert advisory and academic society leadership roles for national and international bodies and served as President of INEBRIA 2012-15. Most of Jim’s work is on alcohol. His two main current research programmes investigate interventions and policy issues, and with colleagues he has previously completed many individual-level intervention trials. He is currently working on the development and evaluation of a novel form of brief intervention in which attention to alcohol is integrated within medication reviews in community pharmacies. Current policy-related research seeks to develop our understanding of the roles the alcohol industry plays within the UK policy making context and elsewhere, as well as influencing the conduct of research globally. These ongoing research programmes are funded by NIHR and the Welcome Trust respectively.