Validation of a System of Classifying Female Substance Abusers on the Basis of Personality and Motivational Risk Factors for Substance Abuse

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This study explored the validity of classifying a community-recruited sample of substance-abusing women (N = 293) according to 4 personality risk factors for substance abuse (anxiety sensitivity, introversion–hopelessness, sensation seeking, and impulsivity). Cluster analyses reliably identified 5 subtypes of women who demonstrated differential lifetime risk for various addictive and nonaddictive disorders. An anxiety-sensitive subtype demonstrated greater lifetime risk for anxiolytic dependence, somatization disorder, and simple phobia, whereas an introverted–hopeless subtype evidenced a greater lifetime risk for opioid dependence, social phobia, and panic and depressive disorders. Sensation seeking was associated with exclusive alcohol dependence, and impulsivity was associated with higher rates of antisocial personality disorder and cocaine and alcohol dependence. Finally, a low personality risk subtype demonstrated lower lifetime rates of substance dependence and psychopathology.

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