Transactional models between personality and alcohol involvement: A further examination

Andrew K. Littlefield*, Alvaro Vergés, Phillip K. Wood, Kenneth J. Sher

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Although correlated changes between personality and alcohol involvement have been shown, the functional relation between these constructs is also of theoretical and clinical interest. Using bivariate latent difference score models, we examined transactional relations (i.e., personality predicting changes in alcohol involvement, which in turn predicts changes in personality) across two distinct but overlapping developmental time frames (i.e., across college and during young adulthood) using two large, prospective samples. Across college, there was some evidence that alcohol involvement predicted changes in personality; however, these findings were limited to models that included more proximal measures of alcohol use. When examined across a longer timeframe, we found no evidence that alcohol involvement significantly predicted changes in personality but found some evidence that personality predicted changes in alcohol use. We did find reliable evidence of correlated changes between personality and alcohol use, especially during emerging adulthood. The findings from our datasets highlight that the impact of alcohol involvement on personality change may be limited to shorter intervals during specific developmental timeframes and that the relation between changes in personality and alcohol involvement may be best viewed from a noncausal perspective.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)778-783
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Abnormal Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Alcohol use
  • Developmental models
  • Personality change


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