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Dimensions of Personality, Attachment Style and Early Maladaptive Schemas in Alcohol-Dependent Patients: Are There Gender-Specific Differences ?

Abstract : AIM: Literature reports particularities in certain psychological dimensions, such as personality traits, early maladaptive schemas and attachment styles among patients dependent on alcohol. Several international studies have also emphasized significant gender differences in psychological profiles. However, in France, only a few studies have dealt with this subject. Our aim was on the one hand to study the characteristics of alcohol-dependent patients in these variables, and on the other hand to search for gender differences. METHOD: The personality dimensions were assessed with the French Big Five Inventory (Fr-BFI), the attachment style with Bartholomew's Relationship Scales Questionnaire (RSQ), and early maladaptive schemas with the short version of Young's questionnaire (YSQ-S1). Seventy-three subjects were included: 39 alcohol-dependent patients (19 men and 20 women) and 34 healthy control subjects (17 men and 17 women). The scores of alcohol-dependent patients were compared with those of a healthy control group (n=34, 17 men, 17 women) and available standards. We also compared the scores of men and women with alcohol dependence between them, and we compared the scores of men and women to those of the control group and those of the reference sample of the same sex. RESULTS: This is an ongoing study and we publish here the first results. Compared with control subjects, and the reference sample, alcohol-dependent patients showed significantly higher levels of neuroticism and lower levels of extraversion. Furthermore, differences in attachment styles were observed compared to the control group: alcohol-dependent patients presented a less secure attachment, seemed more fearful and detached, but the results remained within the normal standards. Compared to the control subjects, alcohol-dependent patients showed a significant increase in scores regarding many schemas: emotional deprivation, abandonment, abuse/mistrust, isolation, imperfection, dependence, symbiotic relationship, subjugation, and emotional inhibition. Men and women with alcohol dependence did not show a significant difference between them concerning the dimensions of personality, the schemas, and attachment styles. In addition, the comparison of each sub-group (male/female) with the control group of the same sex and standards available showed specific features: for dimensions of personality, alcohol-dependent men presented a high level of neuroticism and a low level of extraversion, while the women showed no specific features. Concerning attachment, both men and women differed from the control group. Their attachment was more fearful and men showed a less secure and more detached attachment. As for patterns, three are higher among men and women with alcohol dependence compared to controls of the same sex: emotional deprivation, abuse/mistrust, and imperfection. In addition, these schemas seem to be more specific according to gender: alcoholic women differed from controls of the same sex at the subjugation schema, which was not the case for men, while only men differed from men of the control group by higher scores in insufficient self-control, dependency and symbiotic relationship. DISCUSSION: This study shows not only particularities in patients with alcohol dependence concerning personality dimensions, styles of attachment and early maladaptive schemas, but also gender differences when comparing each subgroup (men and women) with controls of the same sex. Even if these results need to be confirmed by using a larger sample, the particularities deserve consideration, especially gender differences in view of appropriate psychotherapeutic strategies.
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Submitted on : Friday, July 21, 2017 - 11:33:18 AM
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Nathalie Camart, M. Cotte, S. Leignel, Cyrille Bouvet, F. Limosin. Dimensions of Personality, Attachment Style and Early Maladaptive Schemas in Alcohol-Dependent Patients: Are There Gender-Specific Differences ?. L'Encéphale, Elsevier Masson, 2016, 42 (6), pp.523--528. ⟨10.1016/j.encep.2016.05.001⟩. ⟨hal-01566663⟩

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