Personality disorders, alcohol use, and alcohol misuse

Johanna Catherine Maclean, Michael T. French

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Personality disorders (PDs) are psychiatric conditions that manifest early in life from a mixture of genetics and environment, are highly persistent, and lead to substantial dysfunction for the affected individual and those with whom s/he interacts. In this study we offer new information on the associations between PDs and alcohol use/misuse. Specifically, we consider all 10 PDs recognized by the American Psychiatric Association; carefully address important sources of bias in our regression models; and study heterogeneity across PDs, drinking pattern, and gender. To investigate the relationships between PDs and alcohol consumption we analyze data from the 2004/2005 National Epidemiological Survey of Alcohol and Related Conditions (. N=34,653). We construct measures of any drinking, drinking quantity, and patterns of misuse that could lead to significant social costs including drinking to intoxication, driving after drinking, drinking during the day, and alcohol abuse/dependence. Results show that persons with PDs are significantly more likely to use and misuse alcohol, although associations vary across gender. Moreover, antisocial, borderline, histrionic, and narcissistic PDs display the strongest links with alcohol use and misuse, and the relationships are strongest among the heaviest drinkers. These findings have important public health implications and underscore the potential social costs associated with mental health conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)286-300
Number of pages15
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Alcohol use and misuse
  • Mental health
  • Personality disorders
  • Social costs
  • United states

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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