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To what extent can a cigarette be regarded as a regressed form of infantile 'transitional object' that prolongs into adulthood?

Ko, Fung (2018) To what extent can a cigarette be regarded as a regressed form of infantile 'transitional object' that prolongs into adulthood? PhD thesis, University of Essex.

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Abstract

It is widely known that tobacco contains toxic ingredients; however, despite a conscious awareness of its toxic content, people still continue to smoke. Even Freud could not resist his severe addiction to cigars. Having been diagnosed with oral cancer in 1923 at the age of 67, and subsequently gone through 33 painful operations in the remaining sixteen years of his life, Freud continued to smoke until he died, knowing that smoking would eventually kill him. The psychoanalytic investigation of addiction began a century ago; of all the theorists, Winnicott has provided a unique perspective by suggesting that ‘addiction can be stated in terms of regression to the earliest stage at which the transitional phenomena are unchallenged.’ We will focus our investigation within the British Object Relations School, and in particular Winnicott’s concepts of regression of the transitional object in the understanding of smoking addiction, with the insight extracted from sixteen one-hour interviews using the Free Association Narrative Interview (FANI) method conducted amongst eight student smokers from tertiary institutions in Hong Kong. Winnicott has outlined seven special qualities in the relationship between the infant and the transitional objects, and if a cigarette is a regressed form of an infantile transitional object that prolongs into adulthood, then the relationship between the cigarette and the smoker should reflect some of these qualities. The two most definitive characteristics found in all the interviews amongst all the respondents are the location of the transitional object and the illusion of its vitality and liveliness. Based on the above results, a discussion on the significance and implications of the current study to smokers, public health policy and the tobacco industry are provided, and the limitations of the current study and the proposed directions for future research are also discussed.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: transitional object, transitional phenomena, addiction, cigarette addiction, regression
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies, Department of
Depositing User: Fung Ko
Date Deposited: 02 Nov 2018 15:33
Last Modified: 02 Nov 2018 15:33
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/23394

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