Recent theories suggest that behavioural addictions and substance use disorders may be the result of the same underlying vulnerability. The present study investigates profiles of family background, personality and mental health factors and their associations with seven behavioural addictions (to the internet, gaming, smartphones, internet sex, gambling, exercise and work) and three substance use disorder scales (for alcohol, cannabis and tobacco).
The sample consisted of 5287 young Swiss men (mean age = 25.42) from the Cohort Study on Substance Use Risk Factors (C-SURF). A latent profile analysis was performed on family background, personality and mental health factors. The derived profiles were compared with regards to means and prevalence rates of the behavioural addiction and substance use disorder scales.
Seven latent profiles were identified, ranging from profiles with a positive family background, favourable personality patterns and low values on mental health scales to profiles with a negative family background, unfavourable personality pattern and high values on mental health scales. Addiction scale means, corresponding prevalence rates and the number of concurrent addictions were highest in profiles with high values on mental health scales and a personality pattern dominated by neuroticism. Overall, behavioural addictions and substance use disorders showed similar patterns across latent profiles.
Patterns of family background, personality and mental health factors were associated with different levels of vulnerability to addictions. Behavioural addictions and substance use disorders may thus be the result of the same underlying vulnerabilities.
KEYWORDS: Affective disorders; Attention deficit – hyperactivity disorder (ADHD); Behavioural addictions; Borderline personality disorder; Stress; Substance use disorders