Personality and Alcoholism Treatment

Reginaldo G. Garcia (Ph.D., 1985)

Thesis directed by Professor Peter G. Ossorio

In the present thesis, concepts from Descriptive Psychology (Ossorio, 1966) were used in addressing the question, can psychological treatment be improved upon by tailoring the treatment to "fit" (alcoholic) patients' personality characteristics? The concepts of Personal Characteristics, Behavior, Significance, and Performance were used in providing a conceptual understanding of personality in relation to behavior, and its implications for treatment in this study.

The question was addressed empirically. "Significance-Type" alcoholics and "Performance-Type" alcoholics were "Matched," "Mis-Matched," or "Non-Matched," on "Significance Treatment," "Performance Treatment," and "Goal-Setting Treatment." Based on these personality-treatment relationships, differential effects were hypothesized on the genuineness and realisticness of patients' planning for alcoholism-free ways of living and behaving.

The planning calls for being able to see and implement alternate ways of living and behaving. Performance-Type alcoholics were seen as having a deficiency in this ability. Performance Treatment was designed to minimize the negative effects of their deficiency on their planning. Significance-Type persons were seen as having these abilities, and Significance Treatment was designed to exploit this strength for use in their planning. Goal-Setting Treatment was not seen as particularly responsive to either Performance-Type or Significance-Type alcoholics, and was used as a control group.

Results of two-tailed t-tests revealed that none of the hypotheses were supported by the data. The Matched, Mis-matched, and Non-matched treatment groups did not differ on the genuineness or realisticness of their planning.

However, post-hoc analyses of the sub-groups which together formed the larger Matched, Mis-matched, and Non-matched groups revealed significant effects. For example, Performance Treatment for Performance-Type alcoholics resulted in more realistic planning than Goal-Setting Treatment for Significance-Type and Performance-Type alcoholics.

The findings are discussed in relation to the question addressed in this thesis, the conceptualization of personality, behavior, and treatment, the clinical basis for the study, and previous research. [154 pp.]