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A dispositional disease model construes alcoholism as a single, incurable, all-or-none disorder caused by biological abnormalities. Treatment and prevention programs shaped by this model are severely limited in scope. An alternative disease model is outlined, its descriptive conception proposed by the Institute of Medicine (1990) and its etiologic framework drawn from a public health perspective. This interdisciplinary model is consistent with available data and is a more suitable framework for guiding future research, treatment, and prevention efforts to address alcohol problems.