Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice

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Volume 50 Issue 3 (September 1977), Pages 209-304

Some findings concerning beliefs about alcoholism (pages 227-235)

The beliefs that alcoholics hold about alcoholism and themselves, and the beliefs that hospital staff and other personnel hold about alcoholism, were investigated using methods derived from the repertory grid, with anonymous facial photographs as elements. Data are presented as to the degree of association of various characteristics with alcoholism for the various groups. Differences between groups, and overall changes during group psychotherapy for patients were small. The relative contribution of personal and shared aspects of belief was measured. It was found that the agreement between groups was high and closely similar to that predictable from consistencies within groups. It is concluded that there may be a very general stereotype of alcoholism, consistent with a personality disorder concept which is implicitly held even in the face of nominal acceptance of other concepts. The self‐constructs of alcoholics were found to be complex. In a small follow‐up study of patients, there was found to be a relationship of poor outcome with tightness of construing for key constructs after psychotherapy. The implications of the findings are discussed briefly.

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