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Personality, coping, motives for substance use, and mood examined in a sample of substance using young adults


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Dr Erin Cowley


Past research aimed at identifying social and psychological risk factors for substance use has relied heavily on self-reporting, and has been conducted relatively independently of research with a neurological or neuropsychological focus.

The neurological research on substance use has included the examination of the brain systems, which may act as mediators for reinforcing the effects of drugs; the measurement of brain-related activity in substance users while performing behavioural tasks; and the long term effects of substance use on the brain among chronic users.

This project investigates a significant number of already established risk factors, including  personality, impulsivity, coping resources, motives for use, and affect, within a single clinical sample.


The findings indicate that there is no clear and simple relationship between risk factors, and the development of a Substance Use Disorder (SUD).

FARE continues to fund and undertake research that contributes to the knowledge-base about alcohol harms and strategies to reduce them.

This research is used to inform our approach to evidence-based alcohol policy development, ensuring that the solutions we are advocating for are informed by research. FARE’s research is also often quoted by governments, other not-for-profit organisations and researchers in public discussions about alcohol, demonstrating that FARE is seen as a leading source of information.

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