The Role of Personality Prototypes in Mental Health Risk and Substance Use Behavior among Single Gay and Bisexual Men

Storey Katherine Day, Pace University


Background: Gay and bisexual men experience disproportionately high rates of mental health and substance use issues. The study of personality is one source of potential information about mental health risk and resiliency. Yet, despite efforts to understand gay and bisexual men's elevated risk for psychological disorders and distress, there is an absence of research studying the associations of personality traits with mental health and substance use outcomes within this vulnerable population. This study aimed to identify patterns of personality traits (i.e., prototypes), as well as their relationship with mental health outcomes in gay and bisexual men. Methods: Data were collected from 122 single gay and bisexual identified men. Participants completed the Ten Item Personality Inventory (TIPI), in addition to reporting their level of stress, negative affect, and recent drug and alcohol use. Results: Latent profile analyses identified three distinct personality prototypes: "over-controlled," "well-adjusted," and "under-regulated." Participants in the over-controlled and under-regulated prototype groups were more likely to report higher stress and negative affect than participants in the well-adjusted group. There was a statistically non-significant trend suggesting elevated risk for drug use among the under-regulated prototype. Alcohol use was not found to be associated with the observed personality prototypes. Conclusions: Consistent with previous research, two of the three prototypes were associated with negative mental health outcomes (i.e., the over-controlled and under-regulated prototypes). Both demonstrated significantly higher levels of stress and negative affect. Additionally, the under-regulated group had a higher odds of risky drug use compared to the over-controlled and well-adjusted prototypes. Notably, the pattern of personality traits associated with positive mental health outcomes in this sample of gay and bisexual men differed from corresponding well-adjusted prototypes observed in samples that were not differentiated by their sexual orientation. Thus, this study provides preliminary evidence for the utility of personality information in predicting mental health risks and protective factors among gay and bisexual men.

Subject Area

Social psychology|Psychology|Personality psychology

Recommended Citation

Day, Storey Katherine, "The Role of Personality Prototypes in Mental Health Risk and Substance Use Behavior among Single Gay and Bisexual Men" (2015). ETD Collection for Pace University. AAI3662878.



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