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Codevelopment Between Key Personality Traits and Alcohol Use Disorder From Adolescence Through Young Adulthood

Journal of Personality

Published online on


Objective Personality traits related to negative emotionality and low constraint are strong correlates of alcohol use disorder (AUD), but few studies have evaluated the prospective interplay between these traits and AUD symptoms from adolescence to young adulthood. Method The Minnesota Twin Family Study (N = 2,769) was used to examine the developmental interplay between AUD symptoms and three personality measures of constraint, negative emotionality, and aggressive undercontrol from ages 17 to 29. Results Results from random‐intercept, cross‐lagged panel models showed that low constraint and aggressive undercontrol predicted subsequent rank‐order increases in AUD symptoms from ages 17 to 24. AUD symptoms did not predict rank‐order change in these traits from ages 17 to 24. There was support for both cross‐effects from ages 24 to 29. Biometric analysis of the twin data showed genetic influences accounted for most of the phenotypic correlations over time. Conclusion Results are consistent with the notion that personality traits related to low constraint and aggressive undercontrol are important vulnerability/predisposition factors for the development of early adult AUD. In later young adulthood, there is more evidence for the simultaneous codevelopment of personality and AUD. Implications are addressed with attention to personality‐based risk assessments and targeted AUD prevention approaches.