Adolescent Substance Use Groups: Antecedent and Concurrent Personality Differences in a Longitudinal Study

Elizabeth M. Oliva, Margaret Keyes, William G. Iacono, Matt Mcgue

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study attempted to extend Shedler and Block's (1990) influential study, which found that adolescent drug experimenters had the healthiest personality functioning compared to abstainers and frequent users. Using a prospective design, we examined the relationship between antecedent and concurrent personality and age-18 substance use in a community sample of 1,298 twins (96% Caucasian, 49% male). Personality measures at ages 11 and 18 assessed positive emotionality (agentic and communal), negative emotionality, and constraint. Substance use groups-abstainers, experimenters, and problem users-were created at age 18. Age-18 substance use groups differed in age-11 and age-18 constraint such that problem users were lower than experimenters, who were lower than abstainers. Age-18 substance use groups did not differ in age-18 positive emotionality. However, abstainers were significantly lower than experimenters in communal positive emotionality, whereas female abstainers scored higher in agentic positive emotionality than female experimenters, who scored higher than female problem users. Experimenters were significantly lower in negative emotionality than problem users. Our findings are inconsistent with the notion that experimenters had the healthiest personality functioning and instead suggest different strengths and weaknesses for each group. Future studies should examine agentic and communal positive emotionality separately.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)769-793
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of personality
Volume80
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2012

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