Year of Publication

2012

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis

College

Arts and Sciences

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Gregory T. Smith

Abstract

The aim of this study was to test for prospective relationships between personality factors measured in elementary school and drinking, smoking, and binge eating during the first year of middle school. Data were collected among adolescents drawn from 23 elementary schools and 15 middles schools in central Kentucky. In a two-wave study, 1,906 children completed questionnaire measures in the spring of 5th grade and the spring of 6th grade. After controlling for sex, pubertal status, and prior engagement in addictive behaviors, it was found that urgency at wave 1 predicted drinking, smoking, and binge eating at wave 2, and low conscientiousness at wave 1 predicted drinking and smoking at wave 2. Risky behaviors during the first year of middle school predict subsequent life problems and subsequent diagnosable addictive disorders. The finding that those behaviors can be predicted by personality factors measured in elementary school indicates the value, for risk researchers and prevention specialists, of focusing efforts on children prior to the onset of adolescence.

Share

COinS