Anxiety Sensitivity and Substance Use and Abuse
Behavioral models maintain that substance use and abuse are learned behaviors. The most widely researched behavioral model is the tension-reduction hypothe sis (Conger, 1956), which proposes that states o f tension (anxiety, fear, conflict, or frustration) are aversive motivational states and drug consumption is a rewarding activity because it reduces such states (Cappell & Greeley, 1987). The tension-reduction hypothesis includes two central postulates. First, alcohol and other drugs are capable o f reducing tension. Second, substance-induced tension reduction serves to increase the likelihood o f future drug use through the operant learning mechanism o f negative reinforcement (Cappell & Greeley, 1987). Due to inconsistencies in the experimental support for each o f these postulates, reviews have been quite pessimistic about the utility o f the tensionreduction hypothesis as a global explanation for all drug use behavior and substance disorder development (Cappell & Greeley, 1987; Poherecky, 1991; Wilson, 1988). Criticisms leveled at the traditional tension-reduction hypothe sis include its: (a) failure to consider motivations for drug use other than tension reduction, (b) failure to recognize that different drugs have different effects, (c) relatively narrow definition o f tension, (d) failure to consider the situational context in which drug use occurs (e.g., relaxed vs. stressed state; in anticipation of, or following, stress), and (e) failure to consider relevant cognitive and individual difference variables (Cappell & Greeley, 1987; W. Cox, 1987; Poherecky, 1991; Wilson, 1988).