142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

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Does personality predict information seeking about drugs? Using the Big 5 to profile personality traits of college students who actively seek information about marijuana

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Jisoo AHN, graduate student , Department of Communication, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
Ying Cheng, M. A. , Department of Communication, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
Nehama Lewis, PhD , Department of Communication, University of Haifa, haifa, Israel
Lourdes Martinez, PhD , Communication, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
Background: Previous research identifies demographic and psychosocial variables of college students who engage in drug-related information seeking, a significant and positive correlate of intention to use drugs nonmedically. The present study adds to this body of work by exploring how personality traits shape information seeking related to marijuana.

Methods: Participants ages 18-25 (N=633) and enrolled in a large US university participated in an online survey conducted between October 2012 and December 2013. Personality traits were assessed using a validated abbreviated measure of the Big 5. The Big 5 is a widely used framework measuring personality across five dimensions: Conscientiousness, openness to experience, neuroticism, extraversion, and agreeableness.

Results: Agreeableness and neuroticism were positively associated with information seeking about marijuana, accounting for a range of other covariates. The estimated odds of seeking information about marijuana were 1.2 times as high among participants scoring highly in agreeableness [OR = 1.24 (95% CI: 1.01-1.54)]. Similarly, the odds of seeking information about marijuana were 1.2 times as high among participants scoring highly in neuroticism [OR = 1.22 (95% CI: 1.04-1.43)]. Neuroticism moderated the effect of agreeableness on likelihood of seeking marijuana-related information. Among respondents low in agreeableness, with increased levels of neuroticism the predicted likelihood of seeking marijuana-related information increased from 0.10 (95% CI: 0.05 to 0.15) to 0.36(95% CI: 0.29 to 0.43).

Conclusions: Future interventions may consider tailoring materials to reflect the personality profile of information seekers, particularly those who experience high levels of anxiety, or are motivated to appear agreeable to others.

Learning Areas:

Communication and informatics
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe the relationship between drug-related information seeking and Big 5 personality traits. Explore the personality traits that distinguish drug-related information seekers from non-seekers. Discuss ways in which drug prevention efforts could apply knowledge about personality traits to tailor interventions to at-risk young adults.

Keyword(s): Drug Abuse

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am Masters student in the Health and Risk Communication Program of the College of Communication at Michigan State University. This paper is jointly written with my co-authors who are experts in information seeking behavior.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

Back to: 4179.0: Marijuana and Other Issues