Tsavou, Petkari (2020) Associations of Personality Traits and Emotional Intelligence: Comparing Individuals in Rehabilitation from Drug Misuse, Occasional Users and Non-Users Substance use & misuse 55(2) 252-260
Background: Personality traits and Emotional Intelligence abilities have gained a central place in the etiology of drug use, although understudied until recently. Objective: To examine the associations between personality traits and Emotional Intelligence in people that are in process of rehabilitation from drug misuse, to compare them with occasional users and non-users and to estimate the factors associated with the likelihood of drug misuse. Methods: 244 individuals (52.5% male) participated in the study. Sixty of them were suffering from drug misuse disorders, thirty-two were individuals that used drugs occasionally and 142 were non-users. Personality was assessed with the EPQ and Emotional Intelligence with the WEILS. Results: Results suggested that in drug misuse, emotional use and regulation are positively correlated with extraversion, and negatively correlated with neuroticism, whilst people that misuse drugs differ from occasional and non-users in emotional use and regulation, and in all personality traits except extraversion. Regression analyses proposed that a combination of sex, age, emotional regulation, and neuroticism contributes to the likelihood of a person abusing drugs, as opposed to occasional or no use. Conclusion: Our findings showcase that Emotional Intelligence and personality traits indeed play an important role in drug use, specifically when considering factors that protect from or drive towards misuse. Such results call for the implementation of preventive programs for occasional drug users and therapeutic interventions for people that misuse drugs, targeting the levels of neuroticism and enhancing the ability of regulating the negative emotions, to protect from drug misuse.