DOI: 10.17689/psy-2015.2.5

УДК 159.9.07




An early diagnostics of pupils’ addictive behavior by a psychologist


© 2015 Belous  Elena Nikolayevna*, Tkachuk Olga Sergeyevna**, Fomenko Tatiana Andreyevna***


*PhD in Psychology, the associate professor,  the chair of Psychological Education,  State University of Social Sciences and Humanities (Kolomna, Russia)

**psychologist at comprehensive school №17 (Kolomna, Russia)

***Ph.D in Linguistics, the associate professor, chair of Linguistics and International Communication State University of Social Sciences and Humanities (Kolomna, Russia)  


Annotation. the article is devoted to a practical working-out of an early diagnostics of pupils’ addictive behavior, it contains a valuable generalization of theoretical data on addictive behaviour, it is supported with the results of the research conducted in the 7th and 9th classes of a school.

Keywords:  addictive behavior, smoking, drug addiction, psychological diagnostics, algorithm of the psychologist’s activity


Работа психолога по ранней диагностике аддиктивного
поведения учащихся


© 2015 Белоус Елена Николаевна*, Ткачук Ольга Сергеевна**,

Фоменко Татьяна Андреевна***,

*кандидат психологических наук, доцент кафедры психологического образования Московского государственного социально-гуманитарного института (г. Коломна, Россия),

**психолог общеобразовательной школы №17 (г. Коломна, Россия)

***кандидат филологических наук, доцент кафедры Лингвистики и межкультурной коммуникации Московского государственного областного социально-гуманитарного института (г. Коломна, Россия)  


Аннотация: статья посвящена практическим разработкам в области выявления коррекции аддиктивного поведения школьников, содержит также ценные обобщенные теоретические  сведения о зависимом поведении, подкреплена результатами исследования, проведенного в 7-ом  и  9-ом классах общеобразовательной школы.

Ключевые слова: аддиктивное поведение, табакокурение, наркозависимость, психологическая диагностика, алгоритм работы психолога.




In spite of all efforts of our society to restrict the accessibility of the things that can cause addictive behavior, the number of addictive people is not only constantly growing but addiction is discovered among extremely young people. It can lead to the loss of the whole generation and finally to the degradation of the nation.

The works of foreign researchers such as Blevins, Brickman, Coates, Cohn, Curry, Dana, Gordon, Kidder, Lewis, Marlatt and others are devoted to different aspects of addictive behavior. This issue is in a focus of research of such Russian scientists as Lichko A., Bittenckyi  V., Bratys B., Gabiani A., Dmitrieva N., Kulakov S., Kolesov D., Korolenko Ts., Kurek N., Mendelevich V., Nikolskaya I., Pyatnitskaya I., Sidorov P., Rean A., Hudik V., Eydemiller E. and others. 

An addictive behavior turns out to be closely connected with abuse and disturbance of needs.  The most suitable classification of all types of addictive behavior is based on the dominant object of the addiction. It can be observed in the Table below, where we summarized the results of contemporary scientific works on clinical psychology, medicine, remedial sciences and defectology, published in periodicals as well. (Table 1)

  The data summarized in Table 1 inform us about not only the quantity of objects and types of addictive behavior but the possibility of its constant complication and deterioration. Through the years of growing and maturity we can observe only some of mentioned above addictions. But the knowledge of all possible variants of the addiction helps to diagnose it at the very early stage.


Table 1

The classification of addictions based on the dominant object

The type of addiction

The object of addiction







Hard smoking

Passive smoking

Tobacco chewing

Tobacco snuffing

filtertipped cigarettes, cigarettes without filter


chewing tobacco

snuffing tobacco


Smoking mixtures (spices )



Chemically synthesized blends

Mixture of herbs


Mixtures of chemically cultivated herbs (forbidden by law)




Low alcohol

Strong drinks

Got through fermentation

Got through distillation





Cannabis products







Heroin, poppy straw, acetelized opium, beast heroin, methadone

Marihuana, cannabis

Ephedrine, pervetine, ephedrine,

Cocaine, crack

LSD, psilocin, psilocybine 


Phenozepan, relanium, reladorm, and other products based on barbituric acid

Volatile products in such stuffs as dyestuff, removal liquid, glue, oil, hair spray, insect repellent



Mono-food addiction



Multi-food addiction



The dependence on a certain product or a type of a product (sweets – sweet tooth)

Some kinds of vegetarianism



Apastia, starvation




Action games


Games with prizes

Financial games

Casino games computer games, on-line games

Totalizer, lottery, pane games and so on

 Open trade on the exchange and stock market







Avoidance behavior

Platonic affection, desire disorder, willingness to make sacrifices, voyeurism

Lady-killing, zoophilia, necrophilia, Sadomasochism, fetishism, exhibitionism

Paranoia, sexual phobia, transvestism


Religion and cult


Indoctrination: developing of a new identity that leads to a dissociation of personality and subconsciously a person feels danger and discrepancy 


Zmanovskaya E.V. singles out several forms of addictive behaviour, such as chemical addiction food addiction, gambling (game addiction), sexual addiction, religious destructive behavior. It is important to know that the degree of addiction can change from practically normal to abnormal, to serious biological addiction with somatic and mental pathologies.[Zamanovskaya E.V., 2004] 

The formation of a steady addictive behavior depends on a personality, nevertheless there are some typical stages in this process. [Kleiberg Y.A., 2003]

The 1st stage. Treat for the first time. It usually happens under somebody’s influence or a group pressure. Curiosity, behavior contagion, group conformity and the desire to achieve a group self-affirmation play the leading role at this stage. The natural desire of a person to change his or her state of consciousness is the motivation of the treating for the first time. The probability of forming an addictive behavior and developing of the disease is high. The younger a person is and the weaker a desire to change the state of consciousness using the legal ways the more obvious is starting of the addiction. The way how to achieve a desirable state is involuntary, it depends on the ethic and cultural peculiarities of the society, subculture, the experience of the group and accessibility of the stuff. .

The 2nd stage. A search addictive behavior. As soon as a person treated the stuff for the first time, he starts making experiments with different types of psychoactive substances or objects of addiction. As a rule, at this stage a person is under the influence of his company and does it to feel relaxed, to laugh, to intensify sense perception, to remove shyness and sexual barriers, to express attitude to others openly. At this stage a person activates his searching for a new kind of stuff and methods of usage. Finally he chooses one particular personal type or object of addiction. The 3d stage. The addictive behavior leads to a disease. Here we single out contributing factors classified as social, psycosocial, psychological and biological. Social factors – social imbalance, the accessibility of the things that can cause addictive behavior, the lack of positive social and cultural traditions and customs, the social contrast, the intensity and the level of migration and others.  Psychosocial factors – a high level of a mass anxiety in the community, breaking down of the family relationships, incapacity for the youth to join sports clubs, centers of entertainment. Psychological factors – immaturity of a personal identification or disability to have an inner dialogue, a low level of enduring psychological stresses, keeping the behavior under control, the constant desire to change   the state of consciousness as a means of solving inner problems and conflicts. Biological factors - the type and ‘aggressiveness’ of the psychoactive stuff, personal tolerance, disorder of the detoxication, changing of the motivation, keeping under control the illness. Pupils’ addictive behavior is displayed in both  simple and complicated forms, obvious and easy-understood. So, initially this behavior is exhibited in such forms as a dependent study (the dependence on the teacher’s custody),  the dependent preparing of the home task (the dependence of the mother’s custody), uncontrolled lie and stealing. Gradually, these forms are developing or some more complicated forms are added such as uncontrolled addiction to play computer games or to gamble, to use psychoactive stuff, to find themselves in an unreal world

The provoking factors of the addictive behavior are:

-  Neuro-mental imbalance [Zmanovskaya E.V., 2004, Kleiberg Y.A., 2003]

-  Accentuation of the character (hyperthymia, instability conformity, hysteroid and epileptoid types), [Leachno A.E., 1986].

-  Behavioral response of a group [Leachno A.E., 1986, Zhmurov V.A., 1994, Shabanov Y. D., Shtakelberg O.Y., 2000; Ovcharova R.V., 2000 and others].

-  The reaction of emancipation [Leachno A.E., 1986, Zhmurov V.A., 1994, Shabanov Y. D., Shtakelberg O.Y., 2000; Ovcharova R.V., 2000 and others].

-  The reaction of enthusiasm (different hobbies) [Leachno A.E., 1986, Zhmurov V.A., 1994, Shabanov Y. D., Shtakelberg O.Y., 2000].

-  The growing of sexual affection [Leachno A.E., 1986].

Summing up, we can say that the causes of pupils’ addiction are different, they depend on the degree of the addiction. Let’s compare the causes of smoking and drug addiction given by Smirnova N.K., Shabalina V.V., Zmanovskaya E.V. (Table 2) [Smirnova N.K., 2003,  Shabalina V.V., 2001, Zmanovskaya E.V., 2004].

Taking into consideration the data from Table 2 we can judge that causes for smoking and drug addiction differ, but we can compare them. The causes for drug addiction are deeper and their influence on the personality is more dramatic in comparison with smoking. We conclude that as soon as the chemical addiction is increasing the causes for addiction are changing. Thus, the stage Pleasure gives place to disability in self-acceptance and dependence on the situation, curiosity leads to the emotional and volitional immaturity.

An early diagnostics of preconditions for pupils’ addictive behavior is a psychological issue because:

-       We have no complete comparative analysis of the addictive behavior performed under the influence of different objects of addiction;

-       It is extremely difficult to comprise a complete nonrecurring sample for the study of various addicts’ peculiarities  (due to the object of addiction)

-       We have no solution to the age index when an early diagnostics will not be misrepresented  because of the age related peculiarities, for a example: a child has a volitional immaturity, he is not able to differentiate and keep under control his natural desire to have some pleasure and the starting of addiction (either child’s curiosity is a feature of the age or his personal dissatisfaction and the trait of his character, either it is a natural desire to eat a sweet or he is not able to resist the temptation)

Table 2

The Spectral Analysis of Causes for Smoking and Drug Addictionamong School Children
(according to Smirnova N.K., Shabalina V.V., Zmanovskaya E.V.)



Cause for smoking

Cause for drug addiction


If smoking is accepted by the peer group to which a pupil be long san didn’t ivies himself a member of this community, he recognizes a paramount need for smoking got be equal.

Social consistency


The disorder of self-control

This state constitutes a durable disorder of self-control and self-regulation, difficulty in keeping one’s own behavior under control and predicting the results of it.

The desire to look like a grown-up who can smoke in public, demonstrate lighting a cigarette. This effect is called the mask of a grown-up.



The problems of self-evaluation


The ground forth lack of self-esteem and low, polar unreasonable self-judgment is in the early childhood.

Accordingtothelawcigarettesandalcoholarebannedfromsellingtoteenagersunder 18. But it is constantly violated. 


Decline in achievement motivation

Disbelief in oneself, unwillingness to succeed, disposition to regressive behavior, emotional and volitional immaturity, limited capacity for reflection and caring about oneself.


Some teenagers start smoking out of curiosity

Out of Curiosity


A steady imbalance in affective (highly emotional) sphere

This state constitutes alexithymia, high emotional ability, “negative” affective disposition, a low level of empathy.


Smoking can be treated as a symbol of rebelling against the social values.





This state comprises in a adequate psycho sexuality or attitude to it in his way, aggressivenees and intolerance


Тable 2. Continuation


Cause for smoking

Cause for drug addiction


Prosperity and spare time can lead to boredom and the loss of interest to life. Smoking can seem to be a stimulus for life

Prosperity and spare time


The lack of communication

Unwillingness to be among other people, disability to communicate with others, maladjustment, keeping to coping behavior strategy


A good many of people are able to cope with stress, but some try to perform a certain ritual of calming down. You’ve heard it more than once “If I smoke now I’ll become less angry, upset, or excited.

Escaping a physical stress

Social influence

Total submission to the demands of a peer group, a low level of adaptive capacity, inadequate attitude to the social support



-       We can’t rely on the response of a child, because the probability that the respondent is afraid to lose the object of his addiction is rather high, that is why children can conceal the truth give the answer desirable by grown-ups.

-       We have no specialized techniques implying both the age of the respondent and the type of addiction.

In our opinion, the very idea of diagnosis is possible only when we take into consideration individual factors of risk and individual inclination toward addiction.

We insist on the need to work out the universal algorithm of psychologist’s activity in comprehensive schools, where he can early diagnose child’s precondition for addictive behavior, prevention and intervention. (Scheme 1).

Judging by Scheme 1 the work of school psychologist comprises 7 or 9 steps of the universal algorithm. Let’s have a precise look at these steps.

At the first step we are supposed to get some information on pupils’ inclination towards addictive behavior from any possible sources, for example teachers’ supervision, their opinion, the mind of somebody’s from the child’s social environment, the results of planned testing, the information from pupils’ parents, data from other institutions.

At the second step the school psychologist starts storing and sorting information, analyzing it, systematization of detailed checked information on clearing the  addiction,  its type, kind and peculiarities. The most wide-spread methods of work are given in Scheme 1

The third step is connected with the sharing of the information with the school authorities, the ways of coping with the problem including not only the work of the school psychologist but   other members of the educational community. If parents or guardians refuse to collaborate, if they are against inner school registration, the psychologist must go on collecting information, more detailed and precise, he involves the child and his family in instructive educational process.