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Autor: Paul Sarbescu
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The objective of this paper is to identify the link between the alternative model in five factors and consumption of substances such as alcohol, tobacco, drugs, soft drugs and hard. Identifying these connections was made with the help of the five factors alternative model and a questionnaire on lifestyle. The design used in this paper is non-experimental type and correlational. The results indicate that a number of personality traits such as high levels of sociability correlated with smoking and a high score in impulsive sensatin seeking correlates with alcohol and hard drugs. The research has potential applicability both in the area of medical and clinical psychology and knowledge of the factors that may predict substance use.


The purpose of this paper is to emphasize the impact that substance usage has on personality highlighting the correlation between substance use and alternative five factor model of personality. The necesity for this study is getting bigger and bigger because the number of consumers among teenagers and those who become addicts is growing. „It wrongly assumes that only children from wealthy families use drugs, drugs do not take into account the original social class or age, sex, or IQ, given the dependence of their consumption is the same for all.” [1]

The only difference between consumers and the rest of us is the will to resist temptation. To consume or not is a personal decision of each of us, however, we must consider the consequences that follow and be aware of what is happening with us. I choosed to do this study on teens because adolescence is a stage that includes major changes including emotionally, socialy, mentally and physically, which will form the adolescent personality, interests and behavior. As a teenager, people have more independence and increase the time spent without adult supervision, which can influence the performance and acqusition of behavioral risk. „Adolescence is a decisive step in developing a lifestyle.” Acquired childhood behavioral tendencies are strengthened in this period. [2, 3]

Many substances are included in the class of drugs. Some we find in shops (organic solvents, varnishes, paints, tobacco, coffee); others are bought from pharmacies (antidepressants, sleeping pills and pain relievers). It is estimated that almost a quarter of young people in the EU, more than 80 million young adults have used illegal drugs at some point in their lives. A summary of estimates of drug use in the European Union Cannabis: 73.6 million or 21.7% of adults (15-64 years) have tried cannabis in their lifetime; 18.1 million or 5.3% of adults (15-64 years) have used cannabis in the last year 14.6 million or 11.2% of young adults (15-34 years) have used cannabis in the last year. Cocaine: 4.2% or 14.1 million adults (15-64 years) have tried cocaine in their lifetime; 3.1 million or 0.9% of adults (15-64 years) have used cocaine in the last year; 2.2 million or 1.7% of young adults (15-34 years) have used cocaine in the last year. Amphetamines: 11.4m or 3.4% of adults (15-64 years) have used amphetamines in their lifetime; 1.5 million or 0.4% of adults (15-64 years) have used amphetamines in the last year; 1.2 million or 0.9% of young adults (15-34 years) have used amphetamines in the last year. Ecstasy: 10.6 million or 3.1% of adults (15-64 years) have used ecstasy in their lifetime; 1.6 million or 0.5% of adults (15-64 years) have used ecstasy in the last year; 1.3 million or 1.0% of young adults (15-34 years) have used ecstasy in the last year. Opioids: 1.3 million problem opioid users (15-64 years); 3.5% of all deaths among Europeans aged between 15 and 39 years are caused by drug overdose. Opioids are found in almost three quarters of cases of fatal overdose.Also mentioned is the principal drug in about 45% of requests for treatment for drug use in the European Union. [4]

In classical definition, „the drug is a substance that is absorbed by a living organism and alters one or more functions” (WHO); in the pharmacological sense, „the drug is a substance used in medicine or whose misuse can cause psychological dependence, physical or severe mental activity disorders, perception and behavior.” [5]

According to a report by the NAA national drugs, including alcohol and tobacco, remain a challenge with serious implications both for social and health and recent developments such as’ new substance use with psychoactive properties, continue to generate concerns at all levels „. [1] Worldwide, it is estimated that in 2012, „between 162 and 324 million people, ie between 3.5 and 7% of the global population aged between 15 and 64 years,” a drug used ilicit- a substanceIt belongs to the class of cannabis, opium, cocaine or amphetamine. [4] From this perspective, the consumption of drugs is a major risk factor, causing negative effects on health and on the mental state, so „the goal nationally was preventing, delaying the onset or reducing drug use and its negative effects in the general population or subpopulations identified as vulnerable as adolescents „. [5]

In this article the focus is on the relationship between substance use and personality. Results of previous research Personality traits are one of the factors that were involved in the development of substances. „Premorbid personality traits, such as impulsive sensation seeking, irresponsibility and non-conformism seem to play a central role in the development of substance dependence.” [6, 7] In contrast to other personality traits, such as anxiety, inhibition, mood swings and unhappiness seem to be a consequence rather than a cause of substance dependence. [7] Since youth, differences in personality traits can be seen in those young people misusing substances compared with nonusers. [7,8] Those young people who have abused drugs at an early age had significantly higher scores on neuroticism and lower scores on Agreeableness. These traits seem to be consistent throughout life. ‚Personality traits of neuroticism and disinhibition related were consistently associated with substance abuse. „[7, 9]

The dimensions of personality can be connected with a tendency to engage in substance abuse and the use of various types of substances. [7, 10] Although limited, previous research has shown that personality differences may exist between the key persons abusing alcohol and those who abuse the drug. [7, 11] Specifically, Buderim (2004) reported that „participants who chose alcohol as the primary drug had significantly higher scores on neuroticism and agreeability than those who chose cocaine”. Studying individual differences between addicts can be used as a tool to improve clinical assessment of people who use substances. Alcohol and cigarettes are very common among teenagers and have become a public health problem. According to studies in 2008 secondary school students aged between 14 and 18 years 81.2% have consumed alcohol at least once in their lifetime, 44.6% smoked, 35.2% have used cannabis and 17.3% tranquilizers or sleeping pills. [3]

A study by Candido et al (2007) on the risk factors and risks associated with alcohol and tobacco to high school students found that „use and abuse of legal drugs such as tobacco or alcohol are related to consumption each of these substances and illicit drug use „ [3, 12] Impulsive sensation seeking coorrelate with alcohol and tobacoo use amog youngs. [3, 13]

Among adolescents, drug addictive that consume substances such as tobacco, alcohol or marijuana presents a higher score in the search of sensations impulsive than those who do not consume. [3, 14] High scores on neuroticism and activity in adolescents were connected with unhealthy lifestyles and substance use. [15]

There was a higher consumption of illegal substances amog unsociable people toward sociable, except hallucinogenic drugs, where sociable people had a higher score. [3]

Methodology Participants

The sample used consisted of 46 participants aged 16-19. In the present research all participants were tested with the following tests: ZKPQ (alternating five factors model) and lifestyle questionnaire. The alternative five factors model (ZKPQ) contains 50 items that use type yes or no answers. It measures five dimensions: impulsive sensation seeking, neuroticism, anxiety, aggression, hostility, activity and sociability. Lifestyle Questionnaire to identify lifestyle features. The questionnaire conducted by Diana Muntean WAS-Voina, Bogdan Munteanu, Alexandra Neguţ, Marius Wedge and Paul Sârbescu. The questionnaire contains 10 items Likert-type lifestyle uses response scales with 4, 5 and 6 choice. This questionnaire contains the essential characteristics of a person’s lifestyle: the number of weekly outflows in the city – bars, clubs, etc., the frequency of alcohol consumption, number of cigarettes consumed daily, weekly frequency of consumption of coffee / energy drinks, frequency soft- drug marijuana, hashish, drinking, hard drugs – ecstasy, cocaine, heroin, LSD, etc., the frequency of consumption of fast food, average hours of sleep daily, weekly frequency of physical activity and the number of sexual partners in the last 3 months. [16] From these we only use information related to drug abuse.

Working procedure

Participants completed questionnaires in pen and paper format. Each sample was accompanied by the same briefing for all participants. There was no minimum time for completing the questionnaires, and participants were assured of confidentiality. Research results The present research aimed to identify the link between the alternative five factor model and substance usage. The results show that personality factors sociability and impulsive sensations seeking positively correlated with alcohol. The results also demonstrate the link between drug use and search hard pulse sensations. The correlation between soft drugs and sociability do not support the hypothesis. According to the results obtained from the sample tested and presented in the section of quantitative interpretation, there is a correlation between alcohol consumption and the sociability dimension of personality in the sense that people consuming alcohol displayed a high level of sociability. Sociability as a dimension of personality evaluates preferences to large partyes with a lot of people and interaction at these and the high scores indicate intolerance to social isolation. The results of the sample tested confirms there is a correlation between impulsive sensation seeking and alcohol. This result is consistent with a number of researches on the same theme in literature, whose results were presented in the introductory section. [13, 14]

As psychological variable impulsive sensations seeking refers to how people need to experience varied and complex sensations and willingness to take risks forthe simple fact as enjoying them manifesting risky behaviors, seeking new experiences, new experiences and adventure. These people seek to try risky behaviors, seeking new experiences and adventure and alcohol can provide the impulse for having the courage required for different experiences. A surprise of this study is the fact that doesn’t exist a correlation between soft drugs and impulsive sensation seeking, which contradicts the results of previous research. [3, 14] Apparently the variable impulsive sensations seeking has not an explanatory significant potential of the soft drug. The results of the test sample confirms research, people with high sociability submit high scores on hard drugs. As a psychological variable, sociability refers to the fact that people prefer large partyes where people can interact with others or doing activities in the company of several people and also intolerantion of isolation. So people with a high level of sociability that tend to be closer to the others. These people try to communicate with as many people to befriend as many people and are generally surrounded in all the activities they do for a group as large as possible. Considering the correlation between sociability and drug assumption that we can asume sociability may influence its continuation or initiation of the drug under the influence of certain social factors. One possible mechanism explaining this supposition would be that persons presenting a high score on sociability, forward looking company and to others and showing a high level of sociability, while belonging to a social group that favors drug hard, wanting to integrate more easily, to be part of that group and adjusting behavior to fit the situation will be more likely to use drugs than in hard situations where they are alone.

Final conclusions and practical implications

Given the results obtained in this study, the following conclusions can be drawn, namely that there is a correlation between personality factors sociability and alcohol, hence the preference to consume alcohol within the group and not only because sociability involves a preference for parties with many people. Also results claim correlation between pulse sensation seeking and alcohol which can give the necessary courage to engage in new experiences. The results also support the correlation between sociability and hard drug use, since it can „boost” more desirable it supports large partyes with many people. The results support the importance of personality factors and lifestyle alternative model to explain the link between the five factors of personality and substance use. This could be a starting point in developing more complex studies on personality factors of people who use substances and can be used to create intervention methods among people, especially adolescents who use substances.


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