Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Counseling Psychology & Community Services
Research concerning alcoholism and personality has often been based upon the single syndrome concept of alcoholism. At the theoretical level it has been recognized that different personality patterns exist among alcoholics. However, few researchers have addressed themselves to this area. The purpose of this study was to determine whether a relationship existed between alcoholic drinking patterns and alcoholism severity based on the responses to the Alcohol Use Questionnaire and personality traits as measured by Cattell's Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire.
The sample consisted of 101 white males admitted to a midwestern alcoholism treatment center during a three month period in 1974. The alcoholism diagnosis was based on drinking history and was established by the combined judgment of the treatment team. Only subjects who were not overtly psychotic and did not exhibit severe brain damage were included in the study. The subjects were tested after a period of detoxification, before they entered the formal treatment program to minimize the effect of treatment upon testing. A stepwise backward multiple regression procedure and canonical correlation analysis were used to analyze the data. For each alcohol related factor a multiple regression procedure was used with the alcohol related factor as the criterion. The 16 PF scales were used as predictors. A canonical analysis was performed using the 16 PF scales as one set and the alcohol related factors as a second set.
The findings are summarized below:
1. The following personality traits were found to be significantly related to self-enhancing drinking pattern: apprehensiveness, suspiciousness, emotional unstableness, tenseness and experimenting.
2. Only apprehensiveness was found to be significantly related to the obsessive sustained drinking pattern.
3. The following personality traits were found to be related to the alcoholic deterioration drinking pattern: undisciplined self conflict, apprehensiveness and suspiciousness.
4. The following personality traits were found to be related to general alcoholism: apprehensiveness, tenseness, emotional unstableness, undisciplined self conflict, suspiciousness, shyness, and less intelligent.
5. The canonical product-factors were found to be significant at the .01 level and yielded canonical coefficients of .63 and .54 respectively.
6. The following personality predictor variables were found to contribute most to the canonical correlation of Factor I and are listed in descending order: Tenseness, apprehensiveness, emotional unstableness, shyness, humbleness, and suspiciousness. The criterion drinking pattern variables with the heaviest loading on Factor I was alcoholism severity.
7. The following personality predictor variables were found to contribute most to the canonical correlation of Factor II and are listed in descending order: Expedience, experimenting, happy-go-lucky, undisciplined self conflict, forthrightness, suspiciousness and more intelligent. The criterion variables with the heaviest loadings on Factor II were the self-enhancing drinking pattern and the alcoholic deterioration pattern.
Conclusions: Within the limitations of the present study, the following conclusions were drawn:
1. Alcoholism was multidimensional in terms of drinking patterns and personality traits.
2. The Alcohol Use Questionnaire measured both developmental phases and drinking pattern components of alcoholism.
3. Personality traits were significantly related to the three drinking patterns and alcoholism severity. Personality factors become relatively more important in predicting alcoholism than in predicting whether or not a person drinks.
4. The following personality traits were related to several drinking patterns: apprehensiveness, tenseness, suspiciousness, emotional sensitivity and undisciplined self conflict.
5. At least two alcohol related personality patterns appeared to exist among hospitalized male alcoholics. One patter could be labelled "inhibited neurotic" and the other labelled "extraverted, undersocialized immature" personality.
6. Alcoholism was mainly a neurotic solution to anxiety, but this behavior was mainly a neurotic solution to anxiety, but this behavior has been often mislabeled psychopathic due to its "social nuisance value."
McCullagh, Donald J., "Personality Dimensions of Drinking Patterns in Hospitalized Male Alcoholics" (1974). Theses and Dissertations. 3454.