Individual differences in approach and seeking-related constructs such as sensation seeking, novelty seeking and impulsivity are generally found to be most convincingly associated with substance use in young adults. One set of personality traits that may be particularly relevant to substance use is concerned with Gray's two-dimensional factors that represent approach and avoidance sensitivity. The current study investigated whether Gray's BIS and BAS personality characteristics are associated with drug and/or alcohol use in a sample of non-clinical college students (n = 276). Results indicated that college students' drug and alcohol use was positively correlated with BAS and, to some extent, negatively to BIS personality characteristics. The most substantial correlations were found between BAS Fun Seeking and the number of illegal substances one had used, the quantity of alcohol use, and the frequency of binge drinking. These results suggest that BIS/BAS personality characteristics make a significant contribution to college students' substance use.

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Personality and Individual Differences
Department of Psychology

Franken, I.H.A, & Muris, P.E.H.M. (2006). BIS/BAS personality characteristics and college students' substance use. Personality and Individual Differences, 40(7), 1497–1503. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2005.12.005