The Pre- and Post-Incarceration Substance Use Patterns of Three High Risk Personality Types




Forkner, Peter C.

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It has long been known that certain personality traits are associated with higher risk for substance use and abuse. The present study sought to examine the pre- and post incarceration substance use patterns of three high risk personality types: anxiety/depression (“Emotional Pain”), impulsivity (“Impulsive Lifestyle”), borderline personality features (“Borderline”). All groups were chosen based on motivational models of substance use. All high risk groups were compared to a low risk control group as well as to each other. Results suggest that inmates high in anxiety/depression did not differ from controls and in comparison, inmates high in impulsivity or borderline personality features were significantly more likely to use substances at an earlier age, use more different types of substances, use substances more frequently, and report more symptoms of substance dependence. Unlike inmates high in impulsivity, inmates high in borderline personality features continued to exhibit significantly greater symptoms of dependence even after controlling for frequency of use. These findings suggest that different personality risk factors use do indeed correspond with different patterns of substance use and that personality screening at intake may be beneficial for indentifying those inmates who are most in need for withdrawal and relapse prevention services.



Substance abuse, Anxiety, Impulsivity, Jail, Depression, Borderline