ERIC Number: ED199579
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1980-Sep
Theories of the Alcoholic Personality.
Cox, W. Miles
Several theories of the alcoholic personality have been devised to determine the relationship between the clusters of personality characteristics of alcoholics and their abuse of alcohol. The oldest and probably best known theory is the dependency theory, formulated in the tradition of classical psychoanalysis, which associates the alcoholic's difficulties with dependence-independence conflicts with events that go back to early childhood. The anxiety theory states that alcoholics are persons with high anxiety levels who drink excessively to alleviate their anxiety. The power theory holds that excessive male drinkers have exaggerated needs to feel powerful, and gratify their needs through vicarious powerful experiences while drinking. Research on female alcoholics suggests that these women have a fragile sense of self and use alcohol to make themselves feel more womanly. The four theories each identify some personality deficiency in the alcoholic and observe the alcoholic's use of alcohol in an attempt to compensate for that deficiency. No single theory appears to account for the personality of all alcoholics. (Author/HLM)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association (88th, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, September 1-5, 1980).