Date of Award

Summer 2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Psychology and Behavioral Sciences

First Advisor

Tony R. Young


In this study, the Brief Assessment of Traits – 37 (BAT37) was developed to measure the presence of the personality traits initially proposed for inclusion in the personality disorders section of the DSM-5. The structure of the measure was supported by the results of a pilot study and its construct validity was supported by correlations with theoretically-related scales from the PAI, DAPP-BQ, and HEXACO-PI-R. The BAT37 was administered to a sample of undergraduate college students and clients at a residential substance use disorder (SUD) treatment facility.

Several of this study's findings are relevant to the proposed changes to the personality disorders section of the DSM-5. The initially proposed DSM-5 traits were indicated to be measuring independent constructs which need not be reduced in number due to concerns about intercorrelations between traits. However, the changes made to the initial DSM-5 proposal and included in the revised DSM-5proposal were reasonably well-supported by this study's findings. The results of an exploratory factor analysis of the BAT37 traits suggested a factor structure that is similar to the factors of the Five Factor Model.

Regarding the relationship between personality pathology and substance use, the results of this study indicated that personality traits consistent with both disinhibition-related and self-medication theories of SUD etiology were indicated to precede problematic substance use in individuals. Unexpectedly, BAT37 traits related to compulsivity were consistently indicated to have preceded SUDs and to be present in individuals with SUDs. Traits related to behavioral disinhibition were most prominently found to increase in the period between non-problematic substance use and SUDs; traits related to negative emotionality and problems in interpersonal functioning were also indicated to increase in tandem with substance use. Findings did not support the existence of a personality-based typology of individuals with SUDs. Personality pathology in general was suggested to be predictive of SUDs, both presently and prospectively, and results indicated that the more severe an individual's personality pathology, the more likely he or she is to abuse multiple substances. Possible reasons for these findings are discussed. Limitations of the study and recommendations for future research are discussed.