Personality Types and Type of Substance Abuse

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As we study the relationships between psychology, personality, and criminal or deviant behavior, we want to always keep in mind that the chicken-and-the-egg debate is present when we try to determine if drugs caused a behavior or if the personality caused drug use. In the criminal justice process, the coexistence of crime and drugs is prevalent, but from the psychological perspective, we might see some consistent behaviors from certain personality types or even disorders.

An example might be the person with bipolar disorder, while in a manic state, displays impulsivity, sensation-seeking, and impaired judgment related to safety and even their own mortality. When we consider what type of substances this type of personality might seek or abuse, we might see some understandable choices like things that will help maintain their heightened state of arousal.

We have seen through this course that certain psychological or biological conditions are capable of being deemed the cause for criminal behavior, even resulting in competency or sanity concerns.

Substance abuse evaluations are one of the interesting dynamics in forensic psychology, because in most cases, the assessment takes place days, weeks, or even months after the crime.

For this discussion, you will use information from two of the articles in the studies for this unit—Van Dorn, Volavka, and Johnson’s 2012 article, “Mental Disorder and Violence: Is There a Relationship Beyond Substance Use?,” and Vinkers, Beurs, Barendregt, Rinne, and Hoek’s 2011 article, “The Relationship Between Mental Disorders and Different Types of Crime.”


In your main post:

  • Describe the relationship between personality types or personality disorders and a drug of choice. Does the research you found support that there is or is not a relationship between personality characteristics and a preferred drug of choice?
  • Identify if there are legal implications, such as the types of charges, the legal precedent for the charges, and foundational case law, for these types of correlations.
  • Discuss your perspective on the forensic assessment tool and whether it is useful for the criminal justice process.

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