Personality Patterns, Drugs Of Abuse And Drug Treatment: A Repeated Measures Study Using The Mcmi And Tops Intake And Intreatment Data

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Counseling Psychology


Purpose. This study, based upon a comprehensive theory of personality and psychopathology, was designed to examine the personality patterns among drug abusers in treatment and to determine the relationship between exhibited personality patterns and the abuse of classes of drugs: opioids, depressants, and stimulants. The personality patterns of the abusers were examined with regard to the frequency of occurrence in the different treatment modalities. Degree of change in levels of pathology in relation to the amount of time in treatment was also investigated.Procedures. The subjects were one hundred and forty four clients receiving treatment for drug abuse, in three treatment modalities, in Broward County and Dade County, Florida. The Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory (MCMI) and three survey forms from the Treatment Outcome Prospective Study (TOPS) were utilized to collect personality, drug use and demographic information between May 1, 1981 and October 31, 1981. A small monetary incentive was paid to each client upon completion of the instruments. The money was appropriated by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and managed by the Research Triangle Institute.Findings. The principal findings of this study were: (1) Among the present sample there was no significant relationship between personality patterns and the abuse of specific classes of drugs. (2) Multiple substance abusers exhibited frequencies of personality pattern types significantly different from those expected to occur in a clinical population. (3) Drug abusers receiving treatment in therapeutic communities and drug free outpatient modalities exhibited similar frequencies of personality patterns. (4) Methadone maintenance clients did not exhibit a high frequency of asocial and avoidant patterns which were theoretically related to the abuse of opioids. (5) Treatment effects were found; levels of anxiety and depression were reduced after three months of treatment.Discussion and Conclusions. The use of drugs because of their effects being congruous with the explicit theoretical needs of the individual's personality may not be the primary reason for use. Because of the unique characteristics of the sample, no singular personality or drug use patterns could be found. Drug use is a complex issue entailing more than just the personality of the abuser; there is no direct relationship between personality and drugs of abuse. The overall distribution of personality patterns for drug abusers and those classified as multiple substance abusers did not conform to clinical expectations and thus represents a population different from that of a clinical population. Treatment reduced levels of anxiety and depression.


Education, Educational Psychology

Link to Full Text


Link to Full Text