A personality-based description of maturing out of alcohol problems: Extension with a Five-Factor model and robustness to modeling challenges

Andrew K. Littlefield, Kenneth J. Sher, Phillip K. Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

44 Scopus citations

Abstract

Aim: To examine the relation of changes in Five-Factor personality traits (i.e., extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness to experience; Costa & McCrae, 1985), drinking motives, and problematic alcohol involvement in a cohort of college students (N. =467) at varying risk for alcohol use disorders from ages 21 to 35. Method: Parallel process latent growth models were estimated to determine the extent that prospective changes in personality and alcohol problems covaried as well as the extent to which drinking motives appeared to mediate these relations. Results: Changes in neuroticism and conscientiousness covaried with changes in problematic alcohol involvement. Specifically, increases in conscientiousness and decreases in neuroticism were related to decreases in alcohol from ages 21 to 35, even after accounting for marriage and/or parenthood. Change in coping (but not enhancement) motives specifically mediated the relation between changes in conscientiousness and alcohol problems in addition to the relation between changes in neuroticism and alcohol problems. Discussion: Personality changes, as assessed by a Five-Factor model of personality, are associated with "maturing out" of alcohol problems. Of equal importance, change in coping motives may be an important mediator of the relation between personality change and the "maturing out" of alcohol problems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)948-954
Number of pages7
JournalAddictive Behaviors
Volume35
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2010

Keywords

  • Alcohol use disorders
  • Drinking motives
  • Five-Factor
  • Maturing out
  • Personality change
  • Prospective study

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