Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Researchers Track Personality Traits To Learn More About Alcoholism

Date:
February 21, 2007
Source:
University of Missouri-Columbia
Summary:
A long-term research project at the University of Missouri-Columbia is producing valuable information about alcoholism and individuals who are affected by a family history of the disease. MU psychology researchers, now several years into a multi-year study, have discovered that individuals from alcoholic homes maintain personality traits that could eventually lead to alcohol dependency.

A long-term research project at the University of Missouri-Columbia is producing valuable information about alcoholism and individuals who are affected by a family history of the disease. MU psychology researchers, now several years into a multi-year study, have discovered that individuals from alcoholic homes maintain personality traits that could eventually lead to alcohol dependency.

Kenneth J. Sher, professor of clinical psychology in the College of Arts and Science's Department of Psychological Sciences, and psychology graduate student Jenny Larkins, have compared personality differences of individuals from alcoholic homes to those from non-alcoholic environments. They are monitoring the neuroticism and psychoticism levels of individuals from both groups. The neuroticism scale measures characteristics such as anxiety, depression, guilt, shyness, moodiness and emotionality. The psychoticism scale measures traits related to aggression, egocentrism, impulsivity and anti-social behavior. When the study began in 1987, individuals with family histories of alcoholism scored higher than their counterparts.

Over time and as participants in both groups aged, the researchers found an overall decrease in neuroticism and psychoticism levels. However, Sher said those from alcoholic homes maintained relatively higher levels of deviant behavioral and emotional traits during adult maturation.

"There are tremendous changes in personality from adolescence to adulthood," he said. "We know that people become less neurotic as they get older. One of the things we looked at in this study was the degree of change and whether the gap closes or people maintain those differences. What we find are decreases in neuroticism and psychoticism as people age, but the levels are still higher for people with family histories of alcoholism. Everybody becomes more emotionally stable, but the differences are still maintained."

Sher said another goal was to track personality changes after participants affected by the disease moved out of such environments.

When the study began, the median age of participants was 18. Initially, 489 signed up for the study; 389 currently participate. The participants were selected during their freshman year at MU. They completed alcoholism screening tests which measured paternal and maternal drinking habits. Following interviews, they were categorized as either having a family history of alcoholism or not. Participants were assessed during each of the first four years. Follow-ups were conducted during years seven and 11 - with the most recent providing information for Sher's current discovery.

The study, "Family History of Alcoholism and the Stability of Personality in Young Adulthood," has been published in Psychology of Addictive Behaviors.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Missouri-Columbia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Missouri-Columbia. "Researchers Track Personality Traits To Learn More About Alcoholism." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 February 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/02/070220132130.htm>.
University of Missouri-Columbia. (2007, February 21). Researchers Track Personality Traits To Learn More About Alcoholism. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/02/070220132130.htm
University of Missouri-Columbia. "Researchers Track Personality Traits To Learn More About Alcoholism." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/02/070220132130.htm (accessed August 21, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) According to a new study, elderly people might have trouble sleeping because of the loss of a certain group of neurons in the brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Newsy (Aug. 20, 2014) A new study found couples who had at least 150 guests at their weddings were more likely to report being happy in their marriages. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

AP (Aug. 20, 2014) Nine years after Hurricane Katrina, charter schools are the new reality of public education in New Orleans. The state of Louisiana took over most of the city's public schools after the killer storm in 2005. (Aug. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

AP (Aug. 19, 2014) Four Texas high school football programs are trying out an experimental system designed to diagnose concussions on the field. The technology is in response to growing concern over head trauma in America's most watched sport. (Aug. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins