Is the ‘New’ Problem Drinking Concept of Heather & Robertson More Useful in Advancing Our Scientific Knowledge Than the ‘Old’ Disease Concept? Academic Article uri icon


  • Heather & Robertson maintain that the problem drinking concept represents a shift from a 'pre-scientific' to a 'scientific' paradigm within the field of alcohol studies. They consider that the usefulness of a concept can best be assessed in terms of the extent to which it facilitates the testing of hypotheses. The disease concept is of no value when judged in these terms due to the aetiological assumptions that are built into it. It is argued that since Heather & Robertson's 'new' approach incorporates a set of assumptions parallel to those of the disease concept it is equally tautological, and therefore does not represent the type of change in paradigm they propose.

author list (cited authors)

  • GORMAN, D. M.

citation count

  • 7

publication date

  • August 1989