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Psychiatry Res. 2016 Apr 30;238:356-362. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2016.02.024. Epub 2016 Feb 16.

Discriminability of personality profiles in isolated and Co-morbid marijuana and nicotine users.

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Center for BrainHealth, School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, The University of Texas at Dallas, Dallas, TX, USA.
UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX, USA.
Center for BrainHealth, School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, The University of Texas at Dallas, Dallas, TX, USA. Electronic address:


Specific personality traits have been linked with substance use disorders (SUDs), genetic mechanisms, and brain systems. Thus, determining the specificity of personality traits to types of SUD can advance the field towards defining SUD endophenotypes as well as understanding the brain systems involved for the development of novel treatments. Disentangling these factors is particularly important in highly co morbid SUDs, such as marijuana and nicotine use, so treatment can occur effectively for both. This study evaluated personality traits that distinguish isolated and co-morbid use of marijuana and nicotine. To that end, we collected the NEO Five Factor Inventory in participants who used marijuana-only (n=59), nicotine-only (n=27), both marijuana and nicotine (n=28), and in non-using controls (n=28). We used factor analyses to identify personality profiles, which are linear combinations of the five NEO Factors. We then conducted Receiver Operating Characteristics (ROC) curve analysis to test accuracy of the personality factors in discriminating isolated and co-morbid marijuana and nicotine users from each other. ROC curve analysis distinguished the four groups based on their NEO personality patterns. Results showed that NEO Factor 2 (openness, extraversion, agreeableness) discriminated marijuana and marijuana+nicotine users from controls and nicotine-only users with high predictability. Additional ANOVA results showed that the openness dimension discriminated marijuana users from nicotine users. These findings suggest that personality dimensions distinguish marijuana users from nicotine users and should be considered in prevention strategies.


Marijuana; NEO; Neuroticism; Openness; Personality dimensions; Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC) curves; Tobacco

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