Representations of addiction among substance users and health professionals

Iordanis Pertetsoglou1 & George Koulierakis2

  1. Psychologist, MSc, Head of the Special Center for Direct Access, KETHEA-EXELIXIS.

Contact details: 28 Koumoundourou str, 10677 Athens-Greece. tel: 2105062307, 6993031681, Εmail: &

  1. Health Psychologist, Associate Professor, Department of Public Health Policy, School of Public Health, University of West Attica. Email:




The main objective of this study was to investigate the representations of addiction among substance users and healthcare professionals and to record differences in the content of the representations between the two groups.

Internationally, research on the representations of addiction among substance users is limited, unlike in health professionals, in which representations have been adequately studied and have shown clear and distinct factors, based on the Common-Sense Model. In Greece, this is the first time that this investigation has been carried out, among substance users and health professionals working at the substance use treatment.

This study involved 101 substance users, who receive services from the KETHEA Special Center for Direct Access and 102 health professionals, from the KETHEA and OKANA. The Revised Illness Perception Questionnaire for Dependencies (Illness Perception Questionnaire – Revised version for addiction – IPQ-A) was used in this study, for the first time.

Findings on the predictive validity of the questionnaire were acceptable. In addition, the factors of the representations of addiction that emerged were of acceptable reliability, which allowed an overall investigation of the value of the Common-Sense Model for the problem of addiction. Factor analysis showed a different structure from that of the original questionnaire, both among substance users and the healthcare professionals.

The two groups differed from each other and showed similarities in terms of their representations. The findings of this study confirm the complexity of addiction as a bio-psycho-social phenomenon and the difficulty in identifying its identity and justification.


Keywords: Addiction, representations, Common-Sense Model

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