Study of Substance Cravings Versus Ordinary Urges – UROP Spring Symposium 2021

Study of Substance Cravings Versus Ordinary Urges

Noelle Bedard

Noelle Bedard

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Research Mentor(s): Sekhar Sripada, Associate Professor
Research Mentor School/College/Department: Psychiatry/Philosophy, Michigan Medicine
Presentation Date: Thursday, April 22, 2021
Session: Session 1 (10am-10:50am)
Breakout Room: Room 14
Presenter: 2

Event Link


While there are many studies of cravings and addiction to substances such as cigarettes, it is difficult to pinpoint one universal craving scale that is used to compare all the results on an even plane and to compare them against an “everyday” craving for something such as junk food. This study creates a standard craving scale that can be used to compare the cravings that one has for cigarettes and that one has for junk food. In this experiment, prior smokers in an online smoking quitters forum were surveyed using a questionnaire style scale adapted from the scale used for trichotillomania ,a compulsive hair picking disorder used in a prior study, the Fagerstrom Test for Nicotine Dependence, the Yale Cravings Study, the Questionnaire of Smoking Urges, the Cigarette Dependence Scale, the Fagerstrom Tolerance Questionnaire, the Minnesota Nicotine Withdrawal Scale, and the Wisconsin Smoking Withdrawal Scale. This exact scale with in depth questions about strong cravings was used to evaluate the same subject pool but instead describing their strong cravings for junk food. The means and standard deviations for both types of questions can be compared with the same exact scale, and we expect that the cravings for unhealthy junk food will be similar in ranking. We expect that the ratings on the craving scale will be around middle range. This study can be further implicated in various research studying cravings and addiction, and it can bring attention to the need for a universal craving scale to compare data across studies. This research can also prompt further research on cravings and how they are not the only driving factor when it comes to addiction. These findings can be applied to further discussions about the ability to control “everyday” cravings and what makes them socially acceptable or non-addictive.

Authors: Chandra Sripada, Noelle Bedard
Research Method: Community Based Research

lsa logoum logo