The Contribution of Personality to the Overlap between Antisocial Behavior and Substance Use/Misuse

Donald R. Lynam, Carl Leukefeld, Richard R. Clayton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


The present study tested the ability of the Five Factor Model (FFM), a general model of personality functioning, to account for the stability across time of antisocial behavior (ASB) and substance use/misuse (SUM), and the correlation between ASB and SUM at a given time. Data from a community-based longitudinal study of 481 men and women were examined. Specifically, we examined relations among substance use and conduct problems through the 10 th grade, lifetime symptoms of substance abuse and dependence, adult symptoms of antisocial personality disorder through age 21, and a measure of the FFM. Results were virtually identical for men and women. Personality traits accounted for relatively large proportions of the variance in ASB and SUM with R2 ranging from .19 for early SUM to .30 for early ASB. Additionally, personality profiles of the four measures were highly similar, with similarity coefficients ranging from .87 to .97. Finally, the inclusion of common personality correlates reduced the relations between the four measures by between 13% (early ASB and SUM) and 29% (early and later SUM). It is concluded that personality, particularly the dimensions of Agreeableness and Conscientiousness, is important to understanding ASB and SUM.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)316-331
Number of pages16
JournalAggressive Behavior
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2003


  • Antisocial behavior
  • Personality
  • Substance use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • General Psychology


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