TitlePersonality and alcohol consumption: Pooled analysis of 72,949 adults from eight cohort studies.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsHakulinen, C, Elovainio, M, Batty, GD, Virtanen, M, Kivimäki, M, Jokela, M
JournalDrug Alcohol Depend
Date Published06/2015
KeywordsAlcohol Drinking, Australia, Cohort Studies, Female, Germany, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Models, Psychological, Personality, United Kingdom, United States

BACKGROUND: The role of personality as a determinant of alcohol consumption has long been debated, but prospective evidence is scarce.

METHODS: We performed individual participant meta-analysis to examine the association between the Five-Factor Model personality traits (extraversion, neuroticism, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and openness to experience) and alcohol consumption using data from eight cohort studies sampled from the USA, UK, Germany, and Australia (total n=72,949; mean age=50 years, 54% female). Alcohol consumption was categorized into abstinence, moderate consumption, and heavy consumption.

RESULTS: After adjustment for age, sex, and race, higher extraversion (odds ratio for 1 standard deviation's increase in the score; 95% confidence interval: 1.14; 1.01-1.29) and lower conscientiousness (0.89; 0.79-1.00) were associated with increased risk of transitioning from moderate to heavy alcohol consumption over time, and also with heavy alcohol consumption. Lower extraversion (0.91; 0.85-0.98), higher agreeableness (1.09; 1.02-1.15), and lower openness (0.90; 0.86-0.95) were associated with increased odds of transitioning from moderate consumption to abstinence as well as with alcohol abstinence.

CONCLUSION: Findings from this individual-participant meta-analysis suggest that high and increasing alcohol consumption is more common among extraverts and those low on conscientiousness whereas high agreeableness and low openness to experience may increase odds of reducing alcohol consumption and preferring abstinence.

Alternate JournalDrug Alcohol Depend
PubMed ID25823906
PubMed Central IDPMC4447572
Grant ListP01 HD031921 / HD / NICHD NIH HHS / United States
R01 HL036310 / HL / NHLBI NIH HHS / United States
K013351 / / Medical Research Council / United Kingdom
/ / Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council / United Kingdom
R01 AG034454 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
MR/K026992/1 / / Medical Research Council / United Kingdom
MR/K013351/1 / / Medical Research Council / United Kingdom
R01AG034454 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
R01HL036310 / HL / NHLBI NIH HHS / United States