News Release

Competitive people are more prone to drug consumption

Peer-Reviewed Publication

University of Córdoba

Resarcher Team of the Study

image: Velantina Lucena, Antonio Raya, Rosario Ruiz Olivares and Javier Herruzo view more 

Credit: Universidad de Córdoba (Spain)

Hostile and competitive people are more likely to give in to drug consumption, according to a study published by a research group at the University of Cordoba (Spain). When a person faces a decision of taking or not taking these kinds of substances, multiple factors come into play, such as social environment, family history and one's own experiences. Now, this research has confirmed that certain personality traits can also be risk factors.

"There are still many questions to answer but what we discovered is very significant," points out Rosario Ruiz Olivares, head researcher in the study. She insists that although "what we could call an addictive personality does not exist," the study confirms that there is a very strong correlation between a personality characterized by hostility and competitiveness and consumption of illegal substances, such as cocaine, cannabis and hallucinogenics.

Much like having these personality traits is a risk factor, people who are patient, less hostile, and not competitive have a much lower likelihood of being drug users. "This kind of personality is a protective factor for drug consumption and is especially meaningful in the case of alcohol and tobacco," says the researcher.

In order to perform the study, socio-demographic and personality questionnaires were completed by 3,816 young people in the province of Cordoba between the ages of 18 and 29. "In the future, we would like to broaden the sample to a national level and study behavior patterns according to the person's gender," states Rosario Ruiz.

These results represent an important step in the field of preventing drug consumption among young people, since it could focus specifically on people who demonstrate hostile and competitive traits. Furthermore, it will not only help in prevention, but also in the help provided in a clinical setting, given that people who have these characteristics can find it more difficult to overcome their addiction. If detected, kinds of specific psychological therapy could be designed to work on these personality traits that influence drug abuse.


Ruiz-Olivares, Rosario; Lucena, Valentina; Raya, Antonio F; Herruzo, Javier. Personality profiles and how they relate to drug consumption among young people in Spain. Personality and Individual Differences. DOI: 10.1016/j.paid.2019.06.015

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