Personality correlates of drug attitudes among suburban adolescents

Doris Mae Weinberg Aptekar, Fordham University

Abstract

This study analyzed the relationships between the personality dimensions of achievement orientation, affiliation orientation, stimulus-seeking orientation, and attitudes toward drugs in a sample of suburban high school students. The research questions were: (1) Do students whose achievement orientation is high differ in their attitudes toward drugs from students whose achievement orientation is low? (2) Do students who are stimulus seekers differ in their attitudes toward drugs from students who are not stimulus seekers? (3) Do students who have high desires to affiliate with others have different attitudes toward drugs from those who have low desires to affiliate?^ A sample of 518 students from a suburban high school in the New York metropolitan area were surveyed. Preliminary analyses were conducted analyzing the effects of gender, ethnicity, socio-economic status, grade level, and age on personality traits and drug attitudes. Female students were significantly higher than male students in achievement orientation and lower in stimulus seeking. Male students were more positively oriented toward drugs than female students. White students were more affiliation oriented and stimulus seeking than minority students. Older students were more positively oriented toward drugs than younger students.^ Hypotheses were tested using correlations, with separate analyses for male and female students. Supplementary analyses of three personality traits were conducted, regressing them against the 11 drug attitude indicators using multiple regression analysis. The findings of the hypothesis testing and supplementary analyses can be summarized as follows: (1) Students did not discriminate among drugs in terms of attitudes. It was found that the relationships between personality variables and drugs were consistent. The only significant variations in relationships were between legal and illegal drugs, with attenuated relationships between the personality variables and attitudes toward alcohol and cigarettes. Alcohol and cigarettes had higher approval ratings than illegal drugs. (2) Achievement orientation was negatively related to attitudes toward all drugs. (3) Affiliation orientation was negatively related to most drugs, with the exceptions of cigarettes and tranquilizers in which relationships were nonsignificant. The relationships between affiliation orientation and drug attitudes were consistently weak. (4) Stimulus seeking was the strongest predictor of drug attitudes, with consistent positive relationships. ^

Subject Area

Personality psychology

Recommended Citation

Weinberg Aptekar, Doris Mae, "Personality correlates of drug attitudes among suburban adolescents" (1989). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9007197.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI9007197

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