Alcohol consumption and health: synergistic interaction with personality

Psychol Rep. 1995 Oct;77(2):675-87. doi: 10.2466/pr0.1995.77.2.675.


In this study, 6,386 males and 5,990 females, with a mean age of 55 years, constituting a random sample, were administered questionnaires by interviewers relating to amount of self-regulation and drinking status. They were then followed up over a 20-yr. period, and health status (living well, chronically ill, or deceased) was ascertained. It was hypothesized that the deleterious effect of alcohol would be worse for those low on self-regulation; that health status would be worse for those in whom drinking diminished self-regulation, as compared with those for whom drinking improved self-regulation; and that smoking would have greater effects in lowering health status in those in whom drinking diminished self-regulation than in those in whom drinking improved self-regulation. All predictions were borne out by the data at high statistical significance. The results confirmed findings from an earlier study to the effect that psychological factors like self-regulation powerfully influence the kind of effects drinking has with respect to health.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects*
  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Personality*
  • Sick Role*