Essay on Exploring Substance Abuse Prevention: Social Determination and Health Behavior Theories in Action

Published: 2024-01-07
Essay on Exploring Substance Abuse Prevention: Social Determination and Health Behavior Theories in Action
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Health and Social Care Behavior Substance abuse
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 840 words
7 min read

The challenge of substance abuse addiction has been prevalent in Virginia and there is a need to include prevention strategies for the people struggling to deal with it. One theory of prevention that is applicable in addressing the problem is the social determination theory. Prevention in public health is continuously growing as per the thinking and experiences of researchers, planners, and practitioners. The theories applicable to the situation will explain behavior and the associated changes because substance abuse is a behavioral problem for the users.

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The self-determination theory is a personality model that encompasses behavioral factors. The focus is on the motivation behind the choices that individuals make. In the case of substance abuse addiction, affected individuals may have learned the act from other peers who influenced them to start using the drugs. In the end, one is left with no choice but to begin their journey into addiction. This way, the self-determination theory is necessary to explain how people make the choice to start abusing substances and how they can reverse to prevent it.

Self-determination is such that an individual engages in the activity because they find it interesting and satisfying rather than focusing on the motivation to achieve a goal or get a reward such as money. When an individual is faced with intrinsic motivation, they seek out challenges that allow for growth. In preventing the social problem, the theory will be helpful to stress the need for competence, autonomy, and self-initiated behavior so as to allow for optimal function and growth.

The theory defines competence as having to do with one being effective in dealing with the environment and also producing behavioral outcomes. When the affected individuals receive negative feedback, it will decrease their intrinsic motivation for growth while positive feedback will increase the motivation. Autonomy refers to the urge to initiate action and regulate the behavior. In the case of substance abuse, the theory will ensure that when the prevention programs are focused on autonomy, the individual gets the urge to initiate actions that are toward dealing with the abuse.

The theory also suggests that there are different ways that people orient themselves to the environment and regulate their behavior. The orientations can be autonomous, controlled, or impersonal. The autonomous way results from the satisfaction of basic needs. In regulating substance abuse, one will see to it that they satisfy their basic needs, the competence and they will get impersonal orientations if they do not satisfy them.

The theory provides a good framework for understanding how the individual will overcome the behavior by seeing how they came to be addicted and using the same route of self-determination to regulate the behavior. This way, changing the behavior will not only mean changing the lifestyle and norms but also the perceptions of norms from others such as correcting overestimates.

Another theory to include in the prevention measures for substance abuse addiction is health behavior theory, which emphasizes the uniqueness of an individual. The theory states that different variables influence behavior in terms of spheres and that health is compromised in different domains including physical, psychological, social, and personal.

It is such that a single behavior can affect several domains of health hence the need to fully examine the prevention strategies. The prevention programs will include how the addicted individuals began the behavior and thus the approaches that will be effective. Adolescents tend to engage in risky health-compromising behaviors at the same time instead of one. In substance abuse, one will find that the individuals are abusing more than one drug like engaging in consuming a lot of alcohol while still smoking marijuana or cigarettes.

The health behavior theory will thus provide a good framework for understanding the person’s entire behavior repertoire and thus direct the prevention strategies. The theory will be helpful in promoting health-enhancing behaviors through reducing the levels of stress, eliminating smoking tobacco, and engaging in physical exercise that contributes to complementary strategies of the health promotion program.

In health behavior theory, the prevention program will consider the stages of drug involvement that tend to determine the way different influences are involved at different stages. Some of the stages of substance use start with the use of alcohol first, then advance to marijuana and later other illicit drugs. Drug use is a deviant behavior and such responses are triggered by one’s membership in the group that has the same responses.


In conclusion, the theories will be helpful in addressing the problem of substance abuse addiction. The theories are appropriate for the problem because they reveal how the affected individuals start the process until they get addicted as well as how the behavior can be used to show that the problem can be prevented. The theories all aim at promoting health because the effects of the problem are mainly on destroying the health of individuals. It is necessary to teach young people the importance of staying away from substance abuse and factors that may lead to the same such as social pressures.

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Essay on Exploring Substance Abuse Prevention: Social Determination and Health Behavior Theories in Action. (2024, Jan 07). Retrieved from

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