The Role of Personality in Predicting Drug and Alcohol Use among Sexual Minorities

Nicholas A. Livingston, Kathryn M. Oost, Nicholas C. Heck, Bryan N. Cochran

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Research consistently demonstrates that sexual minority status is associated with increased risk of problematic substance use. Existing literature in this area has focused on group-specific minority stress factors (e.g., victimization and internalized heterosexism). However, no known research has tested the incremental validity of personality traits as predictors of substance use beyond identified group-specific risk factors. A sample of 704 sexual minority adults was recruited nationally from lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning community organizations and social networking Web sites and asked to complete an online survey containing measures of personality, sexual minority stress, and substance use. Hierarchical regression models were constructed to test the incremental predictive validity of five-factor model personality traits over and above known sexual minority risk factors. Consistent with hypotheses, extraversion and conscientiousness were associated with drug and alcohol use after accounting for minority stress factors, and all factors except agreeableness were associated with substance use at the bivariate level of analysis. Future research should seek to better understand the role of normal personality structures and processes conferring risk for substance use among sexual minorities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)414-419
Number of pages6
JournalPsychology of Addictive Behaviors
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2015


  • LGBT
  • Personality traits
  • alcohol use
  • drug use
  • sexual minority stress


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