Is maturing out of problematic alcohol involvement related to personality change?
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] Problematic alcohol involvement typically peaks in the early 20s and declines with age. This "maturing out" of alcohol involvement is usually attributed to individuals' attaining adult statuses incompatible with heavy drinking. Nevertheless, little is known about how changes in problematic alcohol use during emerging/early adulthood relate to changes in etiologically relevant personality traits which also change during this period. This study examined the relation between changes in problematic alcohol involvement (using measures of alcohol use disorders (AUDs) and dimensional measures of alcohol dependence and negative consequences from drinking) and personality (Eysenck's "Big Three" Personality Traits: Neuroticism, Psychoticism, and Extraversion) from ages 18-35 in a cohort of college students (N=489) at varying risk for AUDs. Latent growth models indicated that both normative and individual changes in alcohol involvement occur between ages 18-35, and that changes are associated with changes in neuroticism and psychoticism. Moreover, marital and parental role statuses did not appear to be thirdvariable explanations of the associated changes in alcohol involvement and personality. Findings suggest that personality change may be an important mechanism in the "maturing out" effect.
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