The main purpose of the assignment is to give students an opportunity to demonstrate their understanding of the bio-psycho-social plus (BPS+) model by applying it to a character in piece of contemporary media. The focus of this assignment is addiction to a substance: eg. alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, another drug. Your assignment needs to address the biological/physiological, social, psychological, cultural, and spiritual aspects of addiction as they appear in the subject material you have chosen. Focus your analysis on the BPS+ model!
Task • From the list below, select your media piece (film, book, television series). If you have an idea other than on the list, please email me well in advance for approval. • Provide an introduction and a brief and concise summary of the film/series. • Clearly define and explain the BPS+ model of addiction – in general and each aspect of the model. • Analyze the character you have chosen in your piece through each aspect of the BPS+ model and by drawing on all the relevant materials from the course to support your examples (readings, videos, posted material etc.) • Conclude your report with a statement of your personal take away learning from having completed the assignment • Do not spend all your effort on a mere summary of the book/film/show you are exploring. Do that briefly – no more than half a page. Reserve most of the space for demonstrating your understanding of the BPS+ model through detailed explanation of each aspect of the model and through your analysis – with solid connections to a wide variety of course resources.
Options for media selection:
A Star is Born
Grey’s Anatomy
Leaving Las Vegas
Queen’s Gambit
Indian Horse
28 Days
Beautiful Boy
Walk the Line
When a Man Loves a Woman
The Glass Castle
Mad Men
This is Us

Sample Answer

Sample Answer


The BPS+ Model of Addiction: Analyzing Addiction in “A Star is Born”


“A Star is Born” is a 2018 musical drama film directed by Bradley Cooper, who also stars alongside Lady Gaga. The film follows the story of a seasoned musician, Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper), who discovers and falls in love with a struggling artist named Ally (Lady Gaga). As their relationship blossoms, Jackson’s addiction to alcohol and drugs threatens to derail both his career and their love.

The BPS+ Model of Addiction

The bio-psycho-social plus (BPS+) model of addiction provides a comprehensive framework for understanding addiction by considering multiple dimensions of the individual’s experience. The model consists of five key aspects:

Biological/Physiological: This aspect focuses on the biological factors that contribute to addiction, such as genetic predispositions, brain chemistry, and the impact of substances on the body.

Psychological: The psychological aspect explores the emotional and cognitive factors that influence addiction, including coping mechanisms, trauma, mental health disorders, and self-esteem.

Social: The social aspect examines how addiction is influenced by social factors such as peer pressure, family dynamics, cultural norms, socioeconomic status, and access to substances.

Cultural: The cultural aspect explores how addiction is shaped by cultural beliefs, values, and attitudes towards substance use. It considers the influence of media, societal expectations, and cultural rituals surrounding substances.

Spiritual: The spiritual aspect acknowledges the role of spirituality or a sense of purpose in addiction and recovery. It encompasses finding meaning and connection beyond the physical realm.

Analysis of Jackson Maine in “A Star is Born”

Biological/Physiological Aspect:

Jackson Maine’s addiction to alcohol and drugs can be partially understood through the biological aspect of the BPS+ model. Research suggests that genetic factors play a role in addiction susceptibility, and Jackson’s father’s struggles with alcoholism hint at a possible genetic predisposition. Additionally, the film portrays the physiological effects of substance abuse on Jackson’s body, such as his declining health and diminishing performance abilities.

Psychological Aspect:

The psychological aspect of the BPS+ model is evident in Jackson’s character. He grapples with feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt, which are intensified by his fame and the pressure to maintain his musical career. Throughout the film, it becomes clear that Jackson uses substances as a coping mechanism to numb his emotional pain and self-medicate for his underlying mental health issues.

Social Aspect:

The social aspect of the BPS+ model is exemplified in Jackson’s relationship with his brother Bobby (Sam Elliott) and his manager Rez (Rafi Gavron). Bobby enables Jackson’s addiction by turning a blind eye to his destructive behavior, while Rez prioritizes Jackson’s success over his well-being. The influence of fame and the music industry also contribute to Jackson’s substance abuse, as he is surrounded by a culture that normalizes excessive partying and drug use.

Cultural Aspect:

The cultural aspect of addiction is portrayed through the music industry’s glamorization of substance abuse. “A Star is Born” highlights how cultural beliefs and expectations surrounding fame can contribute to an individual’s vulnerability to addiction. Additionally, societal attitudes towards addiction play a role in shaping Jackson’s experiences, as he faces judgment and stigma from both the media and the public.

Spiritual Aspect:

The spiritual aspect in “A Star is Born” is represented through Ally’s character, who provides Jackson with a sense of purpose and connection beyond his substance use. However, Jackson’s addiction ultimately hinders his ability to find fulfillment in their relationship and inhibits his growth on a spiritual level.

Personal Takeaway

Analyzing addiction through the lens of the BPS+ model in “A Star is Born” has deepened my understanding of the complex interplay between biological, psychological, social, cultural, and spiritual factors in addiction. It has highlighted the importance of considering all these dimensions when addressing addiction treatment and prevention strategies. Furthermore, this analysis serves as a reminder that addiction is not solely an individual problem but rather a multifaceted issue that requires a holistic approach for effective intervention.

In conclusion, “A Star is Born” provides a compelling narrative that exemplifies how addiction can infiltrate an individual’s life and relationships. By applying the BPS+ model of addiction to Jackson Maine’s character, we gain valuable insights into the various dimensions that contribute to addiction. This analysis serves as a reminder of the importance of addressing all aspects of addiction when seeking to understand and support individuals struggling with substance abuse.



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