Prevention of Addiction Through emotional education

Project Details

Description

Understanding brain mechanism that underlie addiction disorders offers a useful clues to development more effective prevention interventions with empowering effect against personal vulnerability, which is often a combined results of different factors such as genetic predispositions, early and later psychological conditioning, social and environmental factors (bio-psycho-social model, Ekman, 1978).
In the past decades epidemiological studies have identify also the strongest protective factors counting appropriate parental care, adequate development of executive and self-control functions, having good school course and relations with peers (cit.).
Those protective factors are able to influence brain development: numerous studies shown that the first 20 years of life is essential to create and consolidate nervous projections between evolutionary older limbic system, deputies to the activation of emotional reactions and determining appetite behaviours for drug consume, and the cerebral cortex (prefrontal lobes) delegated to control of impulses. Without a proper environment and /or in presence of disturbing and traumatic factors the capability to control emotions and impulses might result weak and insufficient, with foreseeable life consequences. In the particular evolutionary phase of adolescence a reduced emotional intelligence represents an important risk factor for substance abuse (Bray et al., 1999). A metanalysis of 51 scientific articles confirms the link between the level of emotional intelligence and the use of tobacco, alcohol and narcotics concluding that a low level of emotional intelligence stimulates additive behaviour (Kun and Demetrovics, 2010).
Teenagers could use drugs and/or fall in other compulsive behaviours as a sort of coping strategy to handle stress and discomfort produced by poor assessment and management of emotional capabilities, (Kauhanen et al., 1992).
Therefore to prevent addiction, it is not enough to talk to teenagers about the substances by listing the dangers of each drug or the ways how it can be met. Instead, starting from the first years of school (primary and pre primary) the use of educational methods leading to the development of basic life skills such as self-control, the identification of healthy and creative solutions to difficult social situations, the ability to regulate emotions and impulsiveness, are important means to avoid falling into problematic consumption (Goleman, 2006), especially in a difficult social environment. Besides, the development of executive functions and emotional intelligence have a transversal protective impact and their presence generally reduces somatic and psychiatric morbidity, while favouring assumption and maintenance of healthy lifestyles.
The idea behind the project is that the battle against drug abuse, strongly connected with violence or other forms of deviance (including current phenomenon of radicalization), can be successfully only through a systematic and regular actions aiming the maturation of brain structures deputize to self-control, which in turn increase the thresholds for all forms of impulsive behaviours.

The general objective is the empowerment children’s executive functions and self-control within a wide educational environment (starting with kindergartens and primary schools) involving teachers, caregivers, tutors and mentors of public institutions (instruction, sport, health), Scientific Research Bodies and volunteering by the mean of participatory methodology
AcronymPATH
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date1/10/1830/04/21

Collaborative partners

  • HERTIN - Consulting and Education Company
  • Società Italiana Tossicodipendenze SITD (lead)
  • Zakladni Skola Ostrava
  • Istituto Comprensivo Capol. D.D.
  • Paradigma- Ricerca & Psicologia della Comunità

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