This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Effects of Personality Traits on Predicting Substance Dependence in University Students




Adams, Stephen R.

Type of Degree



Rehabilitation and Special Education


College students who do not successfully complete undergraduate studies by obtaining bachelor’s degrees have much lower average lifetime earnings than college students who do obtain bachelor’s degrees. Research suggests that one of the primary reasons for students dropping out or flunking out of undergraduate school is excessive substance use. This study used logistic regression analysis to determine the extent to which individual undergraduate students’ scores for personality traits as measured in scales for psychoticism, extraversion, and neuroticism may predict probability of having a substance dependence disorder. A fourth predictor variable was each student’s lie score on the same assessment. This study sought to determine how well the model classified cases for which the outcome was unknown, and to identify bivariate correlations among the four predictor variables. The results of this study revealed that of the four predictor variables, only extraversion was a statistically significant predictor of high probability of having a substance dependence disorder. The correct classification of 73% of cases affirmed that overall, the model was effective at classifying cases into one group or the other for which the outcome was unknown when all four predictor variables were included simultaneously. An unexpected bivariate correlation revealed in this study was that moderate, negative coefficients were identified for the correlation between psychoticism and lying.