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The discrepancy model: A process model of the development of alcohol problems

13 December 1996


This dissertation formulates and describes the Discrepancy Model. The Discrepancy Model is a process model showing how problems in relationships can develop into vicious cycles that further damage the relationship. A generic process model provides the foundation for describing a Discrepancy Model specifically related to the development of alcohol problems. The Discrepancy Model combines research and models in the fields of cognitive dissonance and consistency theories, attribution theory, family systems, and the Attention Allocation Model. The Attention Allocation Model describes an effect of intoxication on information processing capacity. The Discrepancy Model for developing alcohol problems will not rely on biological vulnerability, but allows that such vulnerability exists for some people. The model produces hypotheses concerning drinkers, spouses, and interventions that can change the development of vicious cycles. The strengths and limitations of the model, and implications for research are discussed. A limitation to each of the lines of research used is low, but significant, correlations and small effect sizes. The discrepancy model suggests a number of predicted results so evaluations on constituents and path analyses can be conducted to explore the its value.


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