IntroductionAlcohol and substance abuse represent one of the most significant public health problems. This problem affects every community, either directly or indirectly in some manner. According to a national survey, as of 2013, an estimated 24.6 million Americans had used an illicit drug in the previous month (NIDA, 2015). That is nearly 9.4% of the entire population. This number has been on the rise since 2002 (NIDA, 2015). Those in their late teens and young adulthood are at the greatest risk (NIDA, 2015). Alcohol and substance abuse has a significant effect on the population and it has devastating effects on the individual and their families. The key to solving the problem is prevention. Understanding risk factors is the key to prevention. The purpose of the study is to explore the correlation between certain personality traits and the potential for substance abuse. The hypothesis is, “People with higher neuroticism scores will engage in alcohol and substance abuse more frequently than those with lower neuroticism scores.”

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Theoretical Background
This study examines the correlation between the risk for alcohol and substance abuse and certain personality traits. The purpose of the study is to examine whether certain personality types are at greater risk for developing the addictive personality that is associated with alcohol and substance abuse problems. Understanding a person’s risk, based on personality traits, will help mental health professionals provide solutions to help the person learn adaptive coping mechanisms, rather than maladaptive coping mechanisms in stressful situation. This intervention will help them to avoid falling into the trap of alcohol and substance abuse as a coping mechanism.

This research will use the “Big Five” personality traits model as the theoretical basis for the study. This theory uses five traits to describe a person’s personality. These factors include openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism (John and Srivastava, 1999). Insight into the Big Five personality traits for an individual can provide clues as to how they approach life and coping mechanisms. Of particular interest is the dimension of neuroticism, as person with high amounts of neuroticism are more prone to developing mental health issues (John and Srivastava, 1999).

In this study the Big Five inventory will be used to define the dimensions of the personality types of the survey respondents. The results of the survey will serve as the operational definition of the various personality types. This will be compared to the responses on the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSFUH) as the measure of the level of alcohol and substance abuse (SAMHSA, 2016). This survey will be used to define an individual’s level of alcohol and substance use, as well as to discover any dependency problems. The study will compare the results of the Big Five personality categorization and the level of substance abuse. This will provide insight into which of the Big Five personality traits are more closely associated with alcohol and substance abuse.

This study will examine the effects of personality on the risk for substance abuse. This will help mental health professionals to develop novel strategies for helping each of the personality types avoid alcohol and substance abuse problems. It will also help professionals to understand those personality types are at greater risk for developing substance abuse issues in the future. This will help them to develop strategies that might help the individual avoid such problems in the future. This study will help to understand the role that personality traits have on the person’s behaviors regarding alcohol and substance abuse. This study will aid in the area of public health in terms of reducing the overall incidence of alcohol and substance abuse in the future. In this manner, the study will help to improve the lives of individuals and communities.

    References
  • John, O. P., & Srivastava, S. (1999). The Big-Five trait taxonomy: History, measurement, and theoretical perspectives. In L. A. Pervin & O. P. John (Eds.), Handbook of personality: Theory and research (Vol. 2, pp. 102–138). New York: Guilford Press.
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). (2015, June). Drug Facts: National Trends. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/nationwide-trends
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). (2016). Easy to Read Drug Facts. Retrieved from https://easyread.drugabuse.gov/content/effects-drug-abuse
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (SAMHSA). (2016). 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH): Final Approved CAI Specifications for Programming. Retrieved from http://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUHmrbCAIquex2016v2.pdf