Year of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Campus Access Only

Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name

Clinical Psychology

Department or School/College

Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

Bryan Cochran

Commitee Members

Annie Sondag, Duncan Cambpell


five factor traits, personality, alcohol use, drug use, LGBT, Sexual minorities


University of Montana


Objectives: Research consistently shows that sexual minorities are at increased risk of problematic substance use relative to heterosexuals. Sexual minority stress models have been proposed in an attempt to explain this disparity. However, no known model accounts for personality effects in the context of sexual minority stress factors (e.g., discrimination and victimization). The current investigation is the first known attempt to test these associations. Methods: Sexual minorities 18 and older were recruited nationally from LGBTQQ community organizations and social networking websites and asked to complete an online survey containing measures of personality, sexual minority stress, and problematic substance use. The analytic sample ranged from 328 to 411, depending on how many participants completed all measures involved in each analysis. Results: A series of hierarchical regressions were performed—including tests of moderation—to test the overarching hypothesis that personality is a significant predictor of problematic substance use beyond previously identified sexual minority risk factors. This hypothesis was supported. We also tested hypotheses involving whether personality traits moderate the relationship between self-report discrimination/victimization and problematic substance use. We found partial support for these hypotheses. Hostility, urgency, neuroticism, and sensation seeking (marginally significant) each moderated these associations, albeit not consistently in the hypothesized direction. Conclusion: Personality is a significant predictor of problematic substance use beyond previously identified risk factors. Personality effects should be modeled in future research regarding problematic substance use among sexual minority populations in order to advance theory and facilitate intervention efforts. Limitations, implications, and directions for future research are discussed.

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© Copyright 2013 Nicholas Alexander Livingston