Stability of and change in substance use risk personality: Gender differences and smoking cigarettes among early adolescents

J J P Mathijssen*, A D Rozema, M Hiemstra, M W J Jansen, J A M van Oers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objective: Adolescents show a steadily increasing inclination toward health risk behaviors, including smoking cigarettes. There is ample evidence that personality traits are related to smoking behavior. However, less is known about the stability of and change in these personality traits during early adolescence and whether smoking behavior affects the developmental trajectories. Moreover, less is known about the influence of gender on the course of personality.

Method: Longitudinal data of three waves were used from 1121 early adolescents. To measure personality, the Substance Use Risk Profile Scale was used. Individual growth curve models were conducted to measure the stability, mean-level change and individual differences in change for personality.

Results: Stability of personality was moderate for boys and ranged from moderate to high for girls. On average early adolescents became more impulsive and more sensation seeking over a period of 18 months. Furthermore, hopelessness for girls increased and the increase in sensation seeking was higher for girls than for boys. Third, smoking behavior was related to all personality traits, indicating that smoking adolescents are more anxious, hopeless, impulsive and sensation seeking than non-smoking adolescents.

Conclusions: Our results are in line with the disruption hypothesis, i.e., during early adolescence there is a dip in personality maturity. There are clear differences between girls and boys in stability of and change in personality traits. Besides, although smoking behavior is related to personality, the change in personality is probably related to other variables.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100360
Number of pages10
JournalAddictive Behaviors Reports
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


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