Substance Use Disorder Status Moderates the Association between Personality Traits

Marta Demkow-Jania, Maciej Kopera, Elisa M. Trucco, Paweł Kobyliński, Anna Klimkiewicz, Małgorzata Abramowska, Anna Mach, and Andrzej Jakubczyk
problematic mobile phone use; substance use disorder; personality; neuroticism; openness to new experience

Background: Associations between personality traits and problematic smartphone use (PSU) among individuals with substance use disorder (SUD) have not been widely investigated. The current study aims to assess whether SUD status moderates the association between personality traits and PSU.
Methods: The study group included 151 individuals with SUD and a normative sample (NS) comprised of 554 non-SUD students. The following self-report questionnaires were used: the Mobile Phone Problem Use Scale (MPPUS-10) to assess problematic smartphone use (PSU), the Internet Addiction Test (IAT) to assess intensity of internet use, and the NEO Five-Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI) to assess Personality traits.
Results: SUD status moderated the association between neuroticism and openness to new experiences on PSU. That is, greater neuroticism and openness were significantly associated with more excessive PSU among the NS. In the SUD group, greater openness was a significant protective factor against PSU. Moderation results were similar when using the IAT (which was significantly correlated with MPPUS) as an outcome.
Conclusions: The presence of SUD may influence how personality traits are associated with problematic mobile phone/internet use. Given that this is among one of the first studies examining this topic, findings should be replicated with additional studies.