Dynamics of neuroticism in the healing process of individuals addicted to alcohol
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Submission date: 2014-06-29
Acceptance date: 2014-07-02
Online publication date: 2015-01-14
Publication date: 2015-01-14
Health Psychology Report 2015;3(1):69–84
Neuroticism conceptualised in the Five-Factor Personality Model indicates the level of adaptation. The objective of the study was to determine the dynamics of changes in neuroticism in association with the treatment of addiction to alcohol, and to compare these changes in the case of individuals maintaining a year-long abstinence and those who resumed the consumption of alcohol.

Participants and procedure
We conducted longitudinal studies. The first assessment was conducted on a group of 977 individuals. Neurotic traits were measured using the NEO-PI-R inventory at the initial stage of the treatment. During the second stage (after a year), the participants were tested again using the NEO-PI-R inventory. Abstinence was assessed on the basis of an interview, and we selected two subgroups: the ABS subgroup of patients succeeding in abstaining for a year (n = 116), and the nABS subgroup of non-abstainers (n = 73). In order to evaluate the dynamics of personality change in the scope of neurotic traits, the two-factor analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used; the analysis involved one factor of the repeated assessment and one inter-group factor.

Only those results that pointed to significant effects of change (η2p > .06) are described. Unlike in the nABS group, high variability was noted for Neuroticism (N: p < .001, η2p = .18) in the ABS group. Furthermore, in the ABS group, in contrast to the nABS group, there was a great decrease in constituent levels: N3 – Depression (p < .001, η2p = .13), N6 – Vulnerability (p < .001, η2p = .13), N1 – Anxiety (p < .001, η2p = .11), and N4 – Self-consciousness (p < .001, η2p = .10).

It has been established that neuroticism decreases in the case of patients who maintain abstinence for a year, which improves their ability to adapt. This change can make patients experience negative emotional states less frequently, and cope better in stressful situations. The level of depression is lowered, and impulse control improves, but only in the case of patients who have abstained from alcohol for a year.