Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine

2013 Edition
| Editors: Marc D. Gellman, J. Rick Turner

Abstinence Violation Effect

  • Susan E. CollinsEmail author
  • Katie Witkiewitz
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-1005-9_623




The abstinence violation effect (AVE) refers to the negative cognitive (i.e., internal, stable, uncontrollable attributions; cognitive dissonance) and affective responses (i.e., guilt, shame) experienced by an individual after a return to substance use following a period of self-imposed abstinence from substances (Curry, Marlatt, & Gordon, 1987).


AVE in the Context of the Relapse Process

The AVE was introduced into the substance abuse literature within the context of the “relapse process” (Marlatt & Gordon, 1985, p. 37). Relapse has been variously defined, depending on theoretical orientation, treatment goals, cultural context, and target substance (Miller, 1996; White, 2007). It is, however, most commonly used to refer to a resumption of substance-use behavior after a period of abstinence from substances (Miller, 1996). The term relapse may be used to describe a prolonged return to substance use, whereas lapsemay be used to describe discrete,...

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References and Readings

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesUniversity of Washington, Harborview Medical CenterSeattleUSA
  2. 2.University of New MexicoAlbuquerqueUSA