Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Michael Spezio

Reader 2

Jennifer Groscup


The following proposal will suggest a holistic form of treatment in addition to the current standard outpatient rehabilitation process. The supplementary treatment suggested will be aikido, a form of non-combative martial arts. This proposed study will examine the effectiveness of aikido in lowering distress and aggression. According to the self-medication hypothesis of addiction, an individual’s vulnerability to addiction is drug-specific. For example, heroin users are thought to have a preference for heroin because of the drug’s ability to mask one’s internal threats of rage and aggression (Khantzian, 1985). Since the individual is unable to cope with this aggression, heroin serves as a calming source of relief that serves to mitigate his or her resulting distress. Aikido is renowned for its philosophy of harmonizing aggressive tendencies and it is expected to ultimately replace the calming effects of heroin. 120 participants will partake in this proposed study and each will be randomly assigned to one of four groups: control, aikido practice, aikido philosophy class, and spin class. Participants will answer a series of assessments measuring severity of addiction, distress, and aggression both prior to and post-treatment. These scores will be analyzed and results are expected to support the hypothesis that the aikido practice treatment will yield significantly less distress and aggression, regardless of severity of addiction, when compared to the other treatment groups. If results prove to be significant then Khantzian’s theory will be supported and it will be critical that heroin rehabilitation facilities incorporate aggression and distress reduction programs in their treatment.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.