Personality

Certain personality characteristics are commonly associated with the etiology and maintenance of alcohol and drug abuse. The extent to which the particular feature presages the onset of substance use or is shaped by the long-term consequence of consumption needs to be ascertained on a case-by-case basis. Traits such as low self-esteem, impulsivity, aggressiveness, and behavioral under-control are highly prevalent in the drug-abusing population.

No single instrument currently assesses all dimensions of personality that may be relevant to understanding drug use behavior. The MMPI, described previously, is very useful for profiling psychopathology and facilitating the formulation and testing of hypotheses about specific personality characteristics. However, other inventories are also informative for elucidating the role of particular traits on the risk for and maintenance of drug abuse. Notably, the Multidimen sional Personality Questionnaire (MPQ) quantifies traits that have frequently been found to be characteristic of alcoholics and drug abusers. Significantly, the traits comprising the MPQ scales have a strong heritable basis (Tellegen, 1982, 1985; Tellegen et al., 1988). Numerous other personality questionnaires have been developed; however, none measures traits that are so integrally linked to substance abuse as the MPQ.

Self-esteem disturbances are also present in substance-using individuals. Low self-esteem can occur in a number of areas of daily living and may be secondary to psychopathology. The Self-Esteem Inventory (Epstein, 1976) is a multidimensional scale with good breadth of coverage and superior psychometric properties. It taps aspects of psychological well-being that are not ordinarily covered by personality tests.

Drug Addiction

Drug Addiction

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