The Relationship between Key Personality traits and Type I/II Alcoholism among College Students
Type of DegreeMaster's Thesis
Human Development and Family Science
Restriction TypeAuburn University Users
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Alcohol use remains common among college students. This study used longitudinal data from a sample of 209 first-year students at a university located in the Southeastern United States to identify support for Cloninger’s theory of Type I vs. Type II alcoholism. I hypothesized that Type II alcoholism (defined here as a class of alcoholics scoring lower in the personality trait of constraint) would be more common among males than females and earlier relative to later in college. I also hypothesized Type I (defined here as a class of alcoholics scoring higher in constraint, harm avoidance, and negative emotionality traits) would be more common among females than males and later relative to earlier in college. Results indicated that a class of alcoholics for males that who scored lower in constraint but also higher in negative emotionality across the three time points. There was also limited support for the Type I hypothesis - there was support for a class of female alcoholics that scored higher in harm avoidance, but this was found only at the baseline assessment (i.e., the first year of college) and not the follow up assessments (approximately one and five years after baseline). This class demonstrated lower average constraint and higher average negative emotionality scores, as well. Altogether, lower constraint and greater negative emotionality were associated with the alcoholic class across time for both men and women. Implications for this study include potential screening of personality-based risk and offer personality-based education and offering special intervention for the AUD in the college student population.