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You’ve probably heard the phrase “addictive personality” tossed around before. The general idea is that some people are more prone to addiction because of their personality traits. This is a bit misleading, though, and SciShow explains why.
The video explains that yes, there are some factors (mostly genetics and environment) that can make someone more likely to develop addiction problems. And, yes, there’s a correlation between some personality traits and addiction, too. However, there’s no causation. As SciShow explains, the relationship between addiction and personality is complex.
Addictions involve a lot of different factors…and they’re all tangled together in ways that researchers may never perfectly sort out. The concept of an addictive personality came into vogue in the early 1980s after the National Research Council published a book about addiction and included a chapter about what so-called personality factors might relate to addiction. The author of that chapter was Dr. Allen Lang, a psychology professor who reviewed lots of previous research and conducted his own studies into alcoholism and drug addiction. He concluded, and I quote, “there is no single unique personality entity that is a necessary and sufficient condition for substance abuse.”
While Lang’s research found there were certain traits that addicts had in common, it doesn’t signify a cause and effect relationship. In other words, it doesn’t show that those traits lead to addiction.
In short, there is a relationship between addiction and personality, but it’s a complicated one that can’t be chalked up to the phrase “addictive personality.” Check out the video for a full explanation.
Is There Such a Thing As An Addictive Personality? | SciShow (YouTube)
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