To evaluate how personality traits are associated with occasional use, abuse, and dependence of alcohol, cannabis, cocaine, benzodiazepines, and hallucinogens in a large availability sample of adults via online questionnaires.
The sample consisted of 8,646 individuals (24.7% men and 75.3% women) who completed an anonymous web survey. Involvement with drugs and temperament/character traits were assessed through the Alcohol, Smoking and Substance Involvement Screening Test (ASSIST) and the Temperament and Character Inventory - Revised (TCI-R), respectively. Interactions among variables were analyzed using MANOVA with Bonferroni adjustment.
Novelty seeking was the trait most associated with increased involvement with alcohol, cannabis, and cocaine. There was a significant association between harm avoidance and benzodiazepine use. Persistence was lower in cannabis-, benzodiazepine-, and cocaine-dependent subjects, as well as in hallucinogen abusers. Self-directedness was reduced in dependents of all drug classes. No strong relationships were found between other temperament or character dimensions and the severity of drug use.
Novelty seeking was associated with increased involvement with all drugs studied in this sample, although to a lesser extent with benzodiazepines and hallucinogens. The temperament and character profile for benzodiazepine use was different from that of other drugs due to the relationship with higher harm avoidance and self-transcendence and lower self-directedness.
Keywords: Alcohol abuse; psychoactive substance use disorder; other psychological issues; tests/interviews, psychometric; computers