Specific Antisocial and Borderline Personality Disorder Criteria and General Substance Use: A Twin Study

Tom Rosenström, Fartein Ask Torvik, Eivind Ystrom, Steven H. Aggen, Nathan A. Gillespie, Robert F. Krueger, Nikolai Olavi Czajkowski, Kenneth S. Kendler, Ted Reichborn-Kjennerud

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Antisocial (ASPD) and borderline (BPD) personality disorders (PDs) are associated with increased risk for substance use. They are "specific" risk factors among PDs in that they withstand adjusting for the other PDs, whereas the reverse does not hold. Specificity is a classic sign of causation. This empirical work addresses 3 further problems that can undermine causal inferences in personality and substance-use research: hierarchical nature of etiologic factors in psychiatry, imperfectly operationalized PD criteria, and possible genetic or environmental confounding, as seen in lack of "etiologic continuity." We used exploratory structural equation bifactor modeling and biometric models to mitigate these problems. The participants were Norwegian adult twins of ages 19-36 years (N = 2,801). Criteria for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), PDs were assessed using a structured interview. General substance-use risk was indicated by World Health Organization Composite International Diagnostic Interviewed alcohol use disorder and illicit drug use, and by self-reported regular smoking. A general risk factor for all criteria of both ASPD and BPD was the strongest individual correlate of general substance use and showed etiologic continuity, though just 3 specific PD criteria could predict substance use to the same extent. The findings indicate that a broad latent factor for both ASPD and BPD may be a specific and a genetically and environmentally unconfounded risk factor for substance use. Substance-use treatment research might benefit from attending to transdiagnostic models of ASPD, BPD, and related behavioral disinhibition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPersonality Disorders: Theory, Research, and Treatment
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2020

Keywords

  • Bifactor model
  • Exploratory structural equation modeling
  • Hierarchical model
  • Population study
  • Substance use disorders

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

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