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Life, Drugs, and the Making of Meaning

  • Joseph De Leo
  • Mitch Earleywine
Chapter

Abstract

Drug use can seem an odd and inexplicable act but might be part of a larger quest to make meaning in life. This chapter places this quest within the context of recent psychological theorizing related to the Meaning Maintenance Model (Proulx and Heine, Psychol Inq, 17:309–318, 2006). This model suggests that threats to one’s sense of meaning motivate compensatory efforts to create an environment that appears meaningful—especially by changing the world, one’s perceptions of it, or one’s beliefs. We suggest that societal teachings about drugs are often at odds with individual experiences, essentially threatening meaning. This threat then encourages further inquiry about drugs, potentially increasing use or motivating questions about societal teachings. A review of recent empirical support for the Meaning Maintenance Model leads to novel predictions about the potential effects of misinformation about drug use motives and behavior. This information might inadvertently motivate drug experiences, altering expectancies and contributing to use.

Keywords

Sexual Arousal Psychoactive Drug Standard Conditioning Medical Cannabis Meaning Framework 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity at Albany, State University of New YorkAlbanyNY

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