Personality and Substance Misuse: Evidence for a Four-Factor Model of Vulnerability

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Abstract

The emphasis made on the significance of personality in the development of substance use problems has varied substantially through the years. Although early research has focused on identifying a single personality trait that conferred risk for substance use and misuse, recent research has highlighted the complex nature and heterogeneity of substance use behaviours and profiles, identifying a number of traits and risk pathways to substance use problems. This chapter reviews the evidence which provides support for the important aetiological role of a number of personality traits in the development and maintenance of substance use problems. Four personality-based causal pathways to substance misuse are proposed that help to explain some of the underlying mechanisms linking substance misuse with other mental disorders. Finally, implications for prevention and clinical practise are discussed.