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Temperament and Substance Abuse in Schizophrenia: Is There a Relationship?

VAN AMMERS, EDMOND C. M.B.B.CH., FRANZCP1; SELLMAN, J. DOUGLAS M.B.CH.B, FRANZCP2; MULDER, ROGER T. M.B.CH.B., FRANZCP2

Journal of Nervous & Mental Disease: May 1997 - Volume 185 - Issue 5 - pp 283-288
Articles

The influence of temperament on substance abuse in schizophrenia is poorly understood, whereas it is known to play an important role in other clinical populations. In a sample of 28 male schizophrenics, Cloninger's dimensions of temperament were measured with the use of the Tridimensional Personality Questionnaire (TPQ). Levels of four commonly used substances were recorded. There was a significant correlation between the novelty-seeking dimension and past use of alcohol, cannabis, and caffeine and current use of caffeine and nicotine. There was no relationship between substance use and clinical symptoms or demographic variables. The possible implications of abnormal mean TPQ scores in the sample as well as a weak correlation between symptom patterns and TPQ scores are discussed. The findings suggest that novelty-seeking type behaviors contribute to substance use in schizophrenia.

1 Mental Health Division, Healthlink South, Christchurch, New Zealand.

2 Department of Psychological Medicine, Christchurch School of Medicine, Christchurch, New Zealand.

Send reprint requests to Dr. van Ammers, Royal Park Hospital, Private Bag No. 3, Parkville 3052, Melbourne, Australia.

The authors thank Dr. Elisabeth Wells for advice on statistical analysis, Hereford Centre staff, and Healthlink South.

© Williams & Wilkins 1997. All Rights Reserved.