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Pathological Personality Traits among Patients with Absent, Current, and Remitted Substance Use Disorders

Christopher J. Hopwood, Michigan State University
Leslie C. Morey, Texas A & M University - College Station
Andrew E. Skodol, The Sunbelt Collaborative, University of Arizona, and New York State Psychiatric Institute
Charles A. Sanislow, Wesleyan University
Carlos M. Grilo, Yale University School of Medicine
Emily B. Ansell, Yale University School of Medicine
Thomas H. McGlashan, Yale University School of Medicine
John C. Markowitz, New York State Psychiatric Institute and Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons
Anthony Pinto, New York State Psychiatric Institute and Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons
Shirley Yen, Albert Medical School of Brown University
M. Tracie Shea, VA Medical Center and Albert Medical School of Brown UniversityVA Medical Center and Albert Medical School of Brown UniversityVA Medical Center and Albert Medical School of Brown University
John G. Gunderson, McLean Hospital and Harvard Medical School
Mary C. Zanarini, McLean Hospital and Harvard Medical School
Robert L. Stout, Decision Sciences Institute and Brown University

Abstract

Personality traits may provide underlying risk factors for and/or sequelae to substance use disorders (SUDs). In this study Schedule for Nonadaptive and Adaptive Personality (SNAP) traits were compared in a clinical sample (N=704, age 18–45) with current, past, or no historical alcohol or non-alcohol substance use disorders (AUD and NASUD) as assessed by DSM-IV semi-structured interview. Results corroborated previous research in showing associations of negative temperament and disinhibition to SUD, highlighting the importance of these traits for indicating substance use proclivity or the chronic effects of substance use. Certain traits (manipulativeness, self-harm, disinhibition, and impulsivity for AUD, and disinhibition and exhibitionism for NASUD) were higher among individuals with current relative to past diagnoses, perhaps indicating concurrent effects of substance abuse on personality. The positive temperament characteristics detachment and entitlement distinguished AUDs and NASUDs, respectively, perhaps clarifying why this higher order trait tends to show limited relations to SUD generally. These findings suggest the importance of systematically integrating pathological and normative traits in reference to substance-related diagnosis.

Suggested Citation

Hopwood, C. J., Morey, L. C., Skodol, A. E., Sanislow, C. A., Grilo, C. M., Ansell, E. B., McGlashan, T. H., Markowitz, J. C., Pinto, A., Yen, S., Shea, M. T., Gunderson, J. G., Zanarini, M. C., & Stout, R. L. (2011). Pathological personality traits among patients with absent, current, and remitted substance use disorders. Addictive Behaviors, 36, 1087-1090.