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Is the 'new' problem drinking concept of Heather & Robertson more useful in advancing our scientific knowledge than the 'old' disease concept?

Authors
Type
Published Article
Journal
British Journal of Addiction
0952-0481
Publisher
Wiley Blackwell (Blackwell Publishing)
Publication Date
Volume
84
Issue
8
Identifiers
PMID: 2775906
Source
Medline

Abstract

Heather & Robertson maintain that the problem drinking concept represents a shift from a 'pre-scientific' to a 'scientific' paradigm within the field of alcohol studies. They consider that the usefulness of a concept can best be assessed in terms of the extent to which it facilitates the testing of hypotheses. The disease concept is of no value when judged in these terms due to the aetiological assumptions that are built into it. It is argued that since Heather & Robertson's 'new' approach incorporates a set of assumptions parallel to those of the disease concept it is equally tautological, and therefore does not represent the type of change in paradigm they propose.

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