Corresponding Author Information: Colette N Delawalla

Session Abstract: Relation of MMPI-3 Scales Assessing Disinhibition with Alcohol Use and Problems

Colette N. Delawalla, Megan A. Keen, & Tayla T. C. Lee

Ball State University

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Disinhibited personality traits, especially impulsivity/novelty-seeking and excitement seeking, have been demonstrated to influence alcohol related problems in emerging adulthood (Finn, 2002; Gunn et al., 2014). Importantly, impulsivity is associated with alcohol problems, while excitement seeking is associated with excessive alcohol use. Though there are implications of these characteristics for interventions, no previous studies have examined whether they can be evaluated with an instrument used in clinical practice, such as the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-3 (MMPI-3). SUBJECTS, METHODS AND MATERIALS: As such, in a sample of 401 college students, we attempted to identify MMPI-3 proxies of these constructs by examining correlations between MMPI-3 scales and criterion measures assessing these aspects of disinhibition. We then used the identified MMPI-3 proxies to examine whether they would predict the appropriate alcohol-related outcomes. ANALYSES AND RESULTS: As hypothesized, the MMPI-3 Impulsivity (IMP) scale demonstrated moderate to large significant associations with collateral measures of impulsivity/novelty seeking (e.g., r = .59 [UPPS-P Negative Urgency], r = .45 [UPPU-P Lack of Premeditation], r = .35 [UPPS-P Lack of Perseverance]). The MMPI-3 Social Avoidance (SAV) scale had significant correlations of an approximately moderate to large effect size with markers of excitement seeking (e.g., r = -.26 [UPPS-P Sensation Seeking], r = -.63 [IPIP Surgency], r = -.37 [CAT-PD Exhibitionism]). Furthermore, regression results suggested scores on the MMPI-3 Substance Abuse (SUB) scale predicted both alcohol problems (R2 = .30) and excessive alcohol use (R2 = .17). As predicted, scores on IMP significantly added to the prediction of alcohol problems (R2Δ = .04; β=.23, p < .001) and scores on SAV significantly added to the prediction of excessive alcohol use (R2Δ = .03; β = -.17, p < .001). CONCLUSIONS: These results are in line with Gunn et al.'s (2014) previous findings and suggest MMPI-3 scales can offer a nuanced assessment of substance-related difficulties that is congruent with past research. Thus, there is potential for clinical application of this model to inform intervention and treatment of alcohol misuse.


Colette N Delawalla | Ball State University Muncie, In

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