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Dr. Christopher Mushquash, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, & Northern Ontario School of Medicine

Completed Theses

June 21, 2017 by Alexandra Kruse

PhD Dissertations

2017

Personality, Motives, and Polydrug Use in Undergraduates

Suzanne Chomycz

Heavy alcohol and marijuana use are common in undergraduates and are associated with numerous use-related problems, whether one drug is consumed on its on (i.e., monodrug use) or if two or more are taken together at the same time (i.e., polydrug use). Several personality traits (i.e., anxiety sensitivity, sensation seeking, impulsivity, and hopelessness) are known to differentially relate to alcohol and marijuana use. Further, the literature suggests that substance use motives (i.e., enhancement, coping, social, and conformity) and depressive symptoms are associated with mono- and polydrug use. Study 1 (N = 361) investigated the relationship between heavy episodic drinking (HED), personality traits, and motives and found that each personality trait at Wave 1 was differentially related to motives for drinking at Wave 2. However, only coping-anxiety, coping-depression, and enhancement motives predicted HED (i.e., five or more drinks for men, or four or more drinks for women, during one occasion). Hopelessness and anxiety sensitivity predicted depressive symptoms, athough depressive symptoms, in turn, did not predict HED. Study 2 (N = 57) investigated personality traits and motives associated with one form of polydrug use known as simultaneous polydrug use (i.e., use at the same time or in close temporal proximity). Results revealed that hopelessness was the only personality trait to predict a motive for simultaneous polydrug use (i.e., coping-depression motives). No motives were predictive of simultaneous polydrug use. Both hopelessness and anxiety sensitivity were predictive of depressive symptoms. In summary, individuals who engage in either mono- or simultaneous polydrug use may be more likely to have sensation seeking as a prominent personality trait. Those who specifically engage in the simultaneous polydrug use of alcohol and marijuana may also be more likely to endorse different personality traits and motives for use than monodrug users.

2016

The Consequences of Alcohol Measure: Psychometric Evaluation of a New Measure of Positive and Negative Consequences of Alcohol Use

Sarah Sinclair

Alcohol is a widely used substance among university students. There are several measures that are used to assess the consequences of alcohol consumption. However, current instruments fail to capture several behavioural consequences established in literature. Negative consequences missing from existing measures are related to sexual behaviour, suicidal and non-suicidal self-injury, and criminal and delinquent behaviour. In addition to negative consequences, positive consequences have been neglected from these measures. The goal of this research was to develop a new measure that addresses these gaps. In Study One, items from current and widely used measures in research and clinical applications, as well as newly developed items, were administered to a sample of undergraduate students. Factor analysis and item performance indices (e.g., item to total scale correlations, item variance, relationship to desirable responding) were used to construct a new scale. In Study Two, the new scale was administered to assess indices of reliability and validity. Although many of the new behavioural consequences (e.g., suicidality, eating behaviours, and aggression) were eliminated from the scale through empirical methods of item retention, the final scale was found to perform well across nearly all indices; there was strong evidence of construct, concurrent, and convergent validity. The final scale was comprised of positive and negative consequences, with an index for valence ratings.

MA Theses

2016

Single-Session Counselling in Mental Health Services: Evaluation of a New Program

Victoria Ewen

Organizations offering mental health services are in need of innovative solutions to address a lack of accessibility and availability in service provision. Waitlists for counselling services are long, often forcing those experiencing mental health difficulties to rely on acute care services in the interim. One option, single-session counselling, allows consumers to access services when they need it, as often as they need it. This service model can be integrated into current services to contend with difficulties related to efficiency and accessibility. The current study evaluated a new single-session counselling program offered in an outpatient community mental health clinic in Northwestern Ontario. The majority of participants rated the service favourably, and experienced a decrease in mental health difficulties and associated impairment. Single-session counselling reduced difficulties associated with the presenting problem, and allowed access to services sooner. Continued implementation of this model of care is supported by the current findings. Dissemination of information describing the nature of single-session counselling, as well as outcomes of program evaluations such as the current study, may help to increase acceptance of its integration into ongoing mental health services.

2015

Evaluating an On-Reserve Methadone Maintenance Therapy Program for First Nations Peoples

Nicole Poirier

The use of alcohol and drugs is a significant issue faced by First Nations communities in Canada, which is accentuated by high rates of mortality and morbidity resulting from opioid use. The frequency of opioid-related emergency room visits and the higher prevalence of illicit prescription drug use disorders in First Nations populations suggest challenges. Methadone maintenance therapy programs are consistently found to be the most effective treatment for opioid dependence; however, due to financial, geographic, and cultural factors, Aboriginal individuals are less likely to initiate methadone maintenance therapy. Cree Nations Treatment Haven is the first on-reserve methadone maintenance therapy program in Canada and the present study aimed to evaluate this program from clients’ perspectives. Results indicated that individuals in treatment with higher rated improvement showed greater engagement, life quality, psychological functioning, physical health, relationships with family and friends, and a more positive opinion of services and less motivation for treatment, psychological distress, problems with alcohol, criminality, employment and life difficulties, and overall risk. Individuals with a more positive opinion of services reported higher engagement and lower motivation. Finally, individuals in treatment reported a decrease in drug use, high-risk, and criminal behaviours, and improvements in housing, employment status, and family support, since admission to the program. Future evaluation would be beneficial to solidify the present findings and clarify the importance of culture in treatment effectiveness.

2014

Personality, Drinking Motives, and Protective Behavioural Strategies Among Undergraduates

Alexandra S. Kruse

There is a high level of both heavy episodic drinking and related problems among Canadian undergraduates. Four personality traits and five motives for alcohol consumption place students at risk for experiencing increased levels of alcohol-related problems. Protective behavioural strategies represent a novel, harm reduction approach to ameliorating the negative consequences that individuals experience as a result of their drinking behaviour. In order to explore the relationships between personality traits, motives for drinking, protective behavioural strategies and alcohol-related problems, a 2-wave longitudinal study was conducted to examine two hypotheses: 1) Does PBS use at wave 1 moderate the relationship between personality traits at wave 1 and alcohol outcome at wave 2?, and 2) Does PBS use at wave 1 moderate the relationship between motives for alcohol use at wave 1 and alcohol outcome at wave 2? Results indicated that PBS do not moderate the relationship between any personality traits and problems, but do moderate the relationship between two motives for use (coping with anxiety and coping with depression) and alcohol-related problems, however, relationships did not emerge as predicted. For those who drink to cope with anxiety or depression, increased PBS usage was related to increased alcohol-related problems, demonstrating that PBS may not provide a protective effect at high levels of these drinking motives. Unique aspects of undergraduate lifestyle may impact the usefulness of PBS for this population, and more directive or intensive strategies to reduce related harms may be required.

Undergraduate Theses

2015

Sex Differences in Alcohol-Related Consequences Among Undergraduates

Carolyn Gaspar

Research on alcohol use has examined alcohol-related consequences associated with heavy episodic drinking in undergraduates. This study examined sex differences in alcohol- related consequences. Undergraduates self-reported on positive and negative consequences they experienced during drinking occasions. It was hypothesized that males would experience more positive and negative interpersonal alcohol-related consequences than females, and females would experience more intrapersonal consequences. It was also hypothesized that when alcohol consumption was controlled for, sex differences would be non-significant. The sample consisted of 402 undergraduates with a mean age of 21. Findings indicate that sex is predictive of negative alcohol-related consequences. Both males and females experienced more positive alcohol- related consequences than negative consequences. The results of this study may assist future strategies aimed at interventions related to heavy episodic drinking. Interventions can be based on sex differences in alcohol-related consequences.

Depressive Symptoms and Consequences of Alcohol Use in Undergraduates

Amy Killen

This study investigated the association between depressive symptoms in relation to positive and negative consequences of alcohol use. It was hypothesized that positive and negative consequences of alcohol use would positively correlate with depressive symptoms. The sample consisted of 402 undergraduate students (76.1% female), with an average age of 21 years. Depressive symptoms were positively correlated with positive and negative consequences of alcohol use. Feelings of sadness (dysphoria), lack of interest (anhedonia), changes in appetite, sleep disturbances (insomnia/ hypersomnia), difficulty thinking/concentrating, feelings of guilt (worthlessness), excessive tiredness (fatigue), movement changes (psychomotor agitation/ retardation), and suicidal ideation, predicted negative consequences of alcohol use. Depressive symptoms predicted positive consequences of alcohol use. Suicidal ideation was found to not be a predictor of positive consequences. Positive and negative consequences of alcohol use predicted depressive symptoms, with the exception of positive consequences predicting suicidal ideation. Age resulted a negative relationship with changes in appetite and positive consequences of alcohol use. The results from this have implications for alcohol prevention and early intervention programs directed towards depressive symptoms and the consequences of alcohol use.

2014

The Relationship Between Motives and Peer Drinking Norms in Undergraduates

Kim Ongaro

This study investigated the relationship between motives for drinking (i.e., enhancement, social, coping-anxiety, coping-depression, and conformity) and perceived peer drinking norms (i.e., descriptive and injunctive) in undergraduate students. It was hypothesized that social, enhancement, and coping-anxiety motives would have a significant positive relationship with both descriptive and injunctive norms, while conformity would have a significant positive relationship with descriptive norms, but not injunctive norms. The sample consisted of 196 undergraduate students (84% female, mean age = 21.6 years) from Lakehead University. Social and enhancement motives were found to have a significant positive relationship with both descriptive and injunctive norms. Coping-anxiety was significantly related to descriptive and injunctive norms. Conformity and coping-depression did not have a significant relationship with either type of norm. These findings suggest that peer-drinking norms are differentially related to motives for alcohol use and may provide an area for exploration of intervention strategies.

Personality, Alcohol Use, and Pregaming Behaviour Among Undergraduates

Allie Popowich

The current study examines four personality traits, impulsivity, sensation seeking, hopelessness, and anxiety sensitivity, as predictive factors of pregaming as well as the relationship with heavy episodic drinking and alcohol related consequences. It was hypothesized that sensation seeking, impulsivity, hopelessness, and anxiety sensitivity will be related to higher levels of pregaming, and that pregaming would be associated with higher levels of heavy episodic drinking and increased alcohol related consequences. The sample consisted of 196 undergraduate students (84.7% female), with an average age of 22. Impulsivity, sensation seeking, hopelessness, and anxiety sensitivity were not found to be predictors of pregaming behaviour. Pregaming was found to predict higher levels of heavy episodic drinking, as well as increased alcohol related consequences. The results from this study have the potential to inform intervention strategies tailored to drinking behaviour at the pregaming level in order to reduce heavy episodic drinking and alcohol related consequences.

Personality and Alcohol, Marijuana, and Simultaneous Polydrug Use in Undergraduate Students

Rebecca Scott

This study examined the association between personality traits (i.e., anxiety sensitivity, hopelessness, sensation seeking, and impulsivity), drug use (i.e., alcohol, marijuana, and simultaneous polydrug use), and drug-related consequences in undergraduate students (e.g., academic impairment, being involved in a motor vehicle accident, and interpersonal problems). It was hypothesized that individuals who engage in simultaneous polydrug use (using alcohol and marijuana in close proximity) would have higher levels of sensation seeking and impulsivity compared to individuals who use one substance, and that simultaneous polydrug users would experience more drug-related consequences compared to individuals who use one substance. The sample consisted of 196 undergraduate students (166 females), with a mean age of 21.61 years (SD = 4.96), and the mean university level being 3rd year. Sensation seeking and impulsivity were found to significantly predict heavy episodic drinking. Sensation seeking and impulsivity were not found to have a significant relationship with polydrug or marijuana use. Within the past three years, alcohol-related consequences were significantly higher than polydrug-related consequences; marijuana-related consequences were significantly lower than alcohol-related consequences, and polydrug-related consequences were significantly lower than marijuana- related consequences. Within the past seven days, alcohol-related consequences were not significantly higher than marijuana-related consequences, alcohol-related consequences were significantly higher than polydrug-related consequences, and marijuana-related consequences were not significantly higher than polydrug-related consequences. The results from this study have the potential for substance use prevention and early intervention programs that address specific personality and drug use patterns, to be made.

2013

Social Determinants of Community Wellbeing in Ontario First Nations Communities

Turina Bruyere

The community wellbeing (CWB) of Ontario First Nations communities is below that of their Ontario non-First Nations counterparts (Moazzami, 2011). Wellbeing is a state of welfare that exists on social, emotional, psychological, physical, environmental, and spiritual dimensions (Chretien, 2010). This study evaluated the association between social determinants and CWB scores in 99 Ontario First Nations communities. Social determinants include factors such as safe and affordable housing, education attainment, labour, and employment. Specifically, this study had focused on the social determinants surrounding education and housing. Regression analyses had demonstrated that social determinants (i.e., possession of a high school diploma, possession of a university degree, school located within the community, and labour force participation) had predicted CWB in Ontario First Nations communities. In addition, regression analyses had demonstrated that geographic zone and multi-family households had predicted a decrease in CWB in Ontario First Nations communities. Results of one hierarchical regression analysis had indicated that, when controlling for schools located within the community, geographic zone decreased CWB. These findings are important for decision makers of policy and funding, as they suggest specific social determinants which have an effect on community wellbeing.

Influence of Motives and Personality on Protective Behavioural Strategies and Heavy Episodic Drinking in Undergraduate Students

Bethany Cain

The association between drinking motives and personality with protective behavioural strategies (PBS) was explored, including whether individuals with different drinking motives or personality profiles were more or less likely to utilize protective behavioural strategies. The final sample consisted of 137 undergraduate students (81% females, M = 22.15 years old, SD = 2.76). Hierarchical regression analyses were conducted to examine how protective behavioural strategies are associated with motives for alcohol use and with personality. Individuals who had greater Enhancement and Coping motives for drinking used protective strategies less frequently. Social motives were not significantly correlated with the mean of protective factors, but were associated with less frequent use of strategies related to reducing risky drinking patterns (Manner of Drinking subscale). Similarly Enhancement and both Coping motives also predicted lower levels of strategies within the Manner of Drinking subscale. Additionally, Coping Depression was related to less PBS use as it relates to limiting the serious harms associated with drinking (Serious Harm Reduction subscale). Conformity did not significantly predict an increase or decrease in PBS use within any of the subscales. No personality profiles significantly predicted overall PBS use. Impulsivity significantly predicted a decrease in Serious Harm Reduction strategies, while Sensation Seeking predicted less Manner of Drinking strategies. Anxiety Sensitivity was unique in that it significantly predicted an increase in Stopping/Limiting Drinking behaviours. Finally, Hopelessness was not related to any PBS subscales. These findings are significant as they may assist in understanding undergraduates at greatest risk of negative alcohol-related consequences and inform protective behavioural strategies-based interventions tailored to personality traits and motives for drinking.

Athletic Participation and Heavy Episodic Drinking among Canadian Undergraduates

Daphne Haggarty

While physical activity generally promotes health and well-being (WHO, 2010), competitive athletes at the varsity level have been shown to engage in heavy episodic drinking more frequently than non-athletes (defined as 4 or more drinks for women, or 5 drinks or more for men, on one occasion; Leichliter, Meilman, Presley, & Cashin, 1998). This study examined relations between heavy episodic drinking and athletic participation in the context of individual personality (i.e. sensation seeking, impulsivity, anxiety sensitivity, and hopelessness) and motivational variables (i.e. enhancement, coping-depression, coping-anxiety, conformity, and social). Athletic participation was measured according to level of competition (varsity or intramural), type of sport (team or individual), and general physical activity level. Cross- sectional data from 137 undergraduate student participants was analyzed. Hierarchical regression revealed that varsity and intramural status predicted heavy episodic drinking frequency even after controlling for personality and motives for alcohol use. While physical activity was not associated with heavy episodic drinking frequency, vigorous minutes per week significantly predicted average number of drinks typically consumed, and also explained a significant portion of the variance. For every 100 minutes of vigorous physical activity per week, half an alcohol beverage was typically consumed. The results of this study may assist future strategies aimed to enhance student health, particularly for those student-athletes at risk of engaging in heavy episodic drinking.

Personality Factors and Motives Related to Marijuana Use in Undergraduate Students

Nicole Poirier

This study investigated the association between personality traits (i.e., anxiety sensitivity, sensation seeking, impulsivity, and hopelessness) and motives for marijuana use (i.e., enhancement of positive affect, expansion of experiential awareness, coping, social conformity, and social cohesion) in undergraduate students. It was hypothesized that anxiety sensitivity would predict coping, conformity, and social cohesion motivated use, that hopelessness would predict coping and conformity motivated use, and that impulsivity and sensation seeking would predict enhancement, expansion, and social cohesion motivated use. The sample consisted of 137 undergraduate students (110 female), with an average age of 22 years old. Anxiety sensitivity and hopelessness were found to predict coping, social cohesion, expansion, and enhancement motivated use, impulsivity was found to predict enhancement motivated use, and sensation seeking was found to predict enhancement, expansion, and social cohesion motivated use. These findings allow implications for substance use prevention and early intervention programs that address specific personality-motive patterns, to be made.

2012

Motives for Smoking: Who Smokes and Why? How Personality and Motivational Variables Influence Smoking Behaviours

Sara Lynn Prouty

Many smokers express a desire to quit but have difficulty doing so even with cessation aides. In order to understand why some smokers have difficulty quitting, it is important to understand why they smoke. The Wisconsin Inventory of Smoking Dependence Motives (WISDM; Piper et al., 2004) proposes thirteen different motives for smoking. These motives were compared with four personality variables consistently demonstrated to be correlated with substance use; anxiety sensitivity, hopelessness, impulsivity, and sensation seeking. The Substance Use Risk Profile Scale (SURPS; Woicik et al., 2009) was used to assess these personality variables. Motives for smoking were also assessed with the Reasons for Smoking Scale (RSS; Russel, Peto, & Patel, 1974) and personality variables were corroborated with well-established personality measures, the Anxiety Sensitivity Index (ASI; Taylor, & Cox, 1998), the Centre for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale (CESD; Radloff, 1977), the Sensation Seeking Scale (SSS-V; Zuckerman, 1994), and the Impulsivity, Venturesomeness, and Empathy Inventory (IV-I7; Eynseck & Eynseck, 1978). It was found that sex was related to weight control motives, anxiety sensitivity scores, and dependence. Anxiety sensitivity scores predicted cognitive enhancement and negative reinforcement motives. CESD scores predicted negative affect and negative reinforcement motives. Sensation seeking scores predicted behavioural choice-melioration and negative affect motives, and impulsivity scores predicted behavioural choice-melioration and loss of control motives.