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Abstract

Social policy decisions are often made based upon socially constructed models of human behavior. As such, understanding the social constructions in a given policy area is of utmost importance. This study examines three competing models within the substance abuse area: the moral model, the disease model, and the biopsychosocial model. Utilizing survey data from a random sample telephone survey of 1,019 residents of Delaware County, Pennsylvania, the study examines a) the degree to which individual models are internally consistent between beliefs about causes and beliefs about solutions, b) whether the assumptions in competing models are in fact different; and c) the level of support for each of the models. Overall, the findings support coherency among the models, and differences between the paradigms. The level of support for each model is similar.

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