Psychological Science Faculty Publications and Presentations

Personality and Substance Use in Mexicans and Mexican-Americans

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Within the theoretical framework of the five-factor model of personality, existing research identifies personality profiles significantly related to certain at-risk behaviors, such as substance use and poor health outcomes. Among Latinos, there is limited knowledge on whether personality traits are associated with substance use behaviors. This study uses a sample of Mexican (N = 323) and Mexicans American (N = 1,143) participants to examine the interplay of culture and personality differences in relation to substance use and alcohol dependence. Mexican Americans reported higher use of cocaine and marijuana, while Mexicans were more likely to report cigarette smoking. Lower Agreeableness and Conscientiousness were associated with a higher likelihood of substance use and alcohol dependence. Higher Extraversion was associated with higher likelihood of substance use, Openness with marijuana use, and for Neuroticism the associations differed across cultural groups and drug-type used. The study identified cross-cultural communalities and differences in personality traits related to drug use and dependence.


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International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction