Personality, Motives, and Polydrug Use in Undergraduates - Suzanne Chomycz (2017)

Heavy alcohol and marijuana use are common in undergraduates and are associated with numerous use-related problems, whether one drug is consumed on its on (i.e., monodrug use) or if two or more are taken together at the same time (i.e., polydrug use). Several personality traits (i.e., anxiety sensitivity, sensation seeking, impulsivity, and hopelessness) are known to differentially relate to alcohol and marijuana use. Further, the literature suggests that substance use motives (i.e., enhancement, coping, social, and conformity) and depressive symptoms are associated with mono- and polydrug use. Study 1 (N = 361) investigated the relationship between heavy episodic drinking (HED), personality traits, and motives and found that each personality trait at Wave 1 was differentially related to motives for drinking at Wave 2. However, only coping-anxiety, coping-depression, and enhancement motives predicted HED (i.e., five or more drinks for men, or four or more drinks for women, during one occasion). Hopelessness and anxiety sensitivity predicted depressive symptoms, athough depressive symptoms, in turn, did not predict HED. Study 2 (N = 57) investigated personality traits and motives associated with one form of polydrug use known as simultaneous polydrug use (i.e., use at the same time or in close temporal proximity). Results revealed that hopelessness was the only personality trait to predict a motive for simultaneous polydrug use (i.e., coping-depression motives). No motives were predictive of simultaneous polydrug use. Both hopelessness and anxiety sensitivity were predictive of depressive symptoms. In summary, individuals who engage in either mono- or simultaneous polydrug use may be more likely to have sensation seeking as a prominent personality trait. Those who specifically engage in the simultaneous polydrug use of alcohol and marijuana may also be more likely to endorse different personality traits and motives for use than monodrug users.