The third component of a comprehensive psychological assessment pertains to determining the degree to which the individual's behavioral characteristics are related to substance abuse. Behavioral adjustment can be characterized in both microenvironment (e.g., family and friends) and macroenvironment (e.g., work, community, and school). Importantly, behavioral disposition, such as antisocial personality disorder, mitigates optimal functioning in a variety of social contexts. The point to be emphasized is that behavioral adjustment is the product of the interaction between the individual and the particular context. A behavioral characteristic (e.g., aggressiveness) can be adaptive in one context and maladaptive in another context.

Many behavioral characteristics have been shown to augment the risk for substance abuse, as well as to covary with substance abuse severity. The most commonly reported features include impulsivity, aggressivity, thrill seeking, poor goal persistence, hyperactivity, and social nonconformity (Spear, 2000; Tarter et al., 1999).

Cognition, emotion, and behavior comprise the major domains of psychological functioning. Notably, the facets of these three processes pertaining to self-regulation are indicators of a unidimensional trait termed neurobehavioral disinhibition (Tarter et al., 2003). The score on this trait is highly predictive of substance use disorder between childhood and young adulthood (Tarter et al., 2003). These findings indicate that a core disorder of psychological self-regulation underlies the risk for substance abuse (Tarter, Kirisci, Habeych, Reynolds, & Vanyukov, 2004). It should be emphasized, however, that there is substantial population heterogeneity with respect to the expression of these three domains of psychological functioning. At the individual level, therefore, a disturbance may be confined to only one area of functioning, may pervade all psychological domains, or (theoretically, at least) may not be present to a significant degree in any of the three areas.

Anxiety and Depression 101

Anxiety and Depression 101

Everything you ever wanted to know about. We have been discussing depression and anxiety and how different information that is out on the market only seems to target one particular cure for these two common conditions that seem to walk hand in hand.

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