A personality typology of smokers

Addict Behav. Mar-Apr 1997;22(2):269-73. doi: 10.1016/s0306-4603(96)00004-4.


The study of smoker's personality has a long and controversial history. Smokers tend to be more extroverted, tense, and anxious and have more antisocial characteristics than nonsmokers. However, some of the data is contradictory, and the strength of the relationship between personality and smoking is weak, probably because smokers are not a homogeneous group. To test this possibility, we used cluster analysis to identify types of smokers in a general population sample. Using Ward's heirarchical clustering algorithm, two clusters were identified from the scores on 10 personality measures in 346 smokers. The smaller cluster (28.8% of the smokers) was higher on neuroticism-related characteristics. The clusters were not different on extroversion-related measures, but people in the smaller cluster were more likely to have symptoms of alcoholism and to have more drinking-related problems (although they didn't actually drink more). They were also younger, had lower income, and were antisocial. The pattern of results suggests that there is a subpopulation of smokers who are more anxious than other smokers and who have strong antisocial tendencies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder / diagnosis
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder / psychology
  • Anxiety / diagnosis
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Personality Tests / statistics & numerical data*
  • Psychometrics
  • Smoking / psychology*