The relationship between the Big Five personality factors, Anger-Hostility, and alcohol and violence in men and women: A nationally representative cohort of 15,701 young adults

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

Abstract

Aims
Alcohol consumption is known to have a disinhibiting effect, and is associated with a higher likelihood of aggressive behaviour, especially among men. People with certain personality traits maybe more likely to behave aggressively when intoxicated, and there may also be variation by gender. We aimed to investigate whether the reason why men and women with certain personality traits are more likely to engage in violence may be because of their alcohol use.

Method
The Big Five personality traits and Anger-Hostility, alcohol consumption and
violence were measured by questionnaire in 15,701 nationally representative
participants in the USA. We tested the extent to which alcohol mediates the
relationship between personality factors and violence in men and women.

Results
Agreeableness was inversely associated with violence in both genders. Alcohol
mediated approximately 11% of the effect in males, but there was no evidence of an effect in females. Anger-hostility was associated with violence in both sexes, but alcohol mediated the effect only in males. We also found that Extraversion was
associated with violence and alcohol use in males and females. Alcohol accounted
for 15% of the effect of extraversion on violence in males and 29% in females.

Conclusion
The mechanism by which personality traits relate to violence may be different in men and women. Agreeableness and anger-hostility underpin the relationship between alcohol and violence in men, but not in women. Reducing alcohol consumption in men with disagreeable and angry/hostile traits would have a small but significant effect in reducing violence, whereas in women, reducing alcohol consumption among the extraverted, would have a greater effect.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 4 Nov 2020

Keywords

  • neuroticism
  • agreeableness
  • anger
  • hostility
  • extraversion
  • five factor model
  • alcohol
  • aggression
  • violence
  • personality

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