Original article:

Immediate survival focus: Synthesizing life history theory and dual process models to explain substance use

Evolutionary Psychology 10(4): 731-749 George B. Richardson, School of Human Services, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH, USA, george.richardson@uc.eduPatrick Hardesty, Educational and Counseling Psychology, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY, USA


Researchers have recently applied evolutionary life history theory to the understanding of behaviors often conceived of as prosocial or antisocial. In addition, researchers have applied cognitive science to the understanding of substance use and used dual process models, where explicit cognitive processes are modeled as relatively distinct from implicit cognitive processes, to explain and predict substance use behaviors. In this paper we synthesized these two theoretical perspectives to produce an adaptive and cognitive framework for explaining substance use. We contend that this framework provides new insights into the nature of substance use that may be valuable for both clinicians and researchers.


life history strategies, dual process models, substance use

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Evolutionary Psychology - An open access peer-reviewed journal - ISSN 1474-7049 © Ian Pitchford and Robert M. Young; individual articles © the author(s)

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