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April 1971

Interpersonal Patterns of Personality for Drug-Abusing Patients and Their Therapeutic Implications

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychology, University of Houston (Dr. Cohen), the Clinical Psychology Section (Dr. White) and the Drug Abuse Research Section (Dr. Schoolar), the Texas Research Institute of Mental Sciences, and the Department of Psychiatry and Pharmacology, Baylor College of Medicine (Dr. Schooler), Houston.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1971;24(4):353-358. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1971.01750100063009

The Leary Interpersonal System was used to analyze interlevel relationships of personality among 80 drugabusers and a control group matched for age and sex also seeking professional help but not abusing illicit drugs. Both groups were failing to actualize their ideals but controls wanted to be more assertive and self-sufficient while drug-abusers idealized passive hostility and dependence. Two new measures of "Identity Diffusion" and "Parental Assimilation" were introduced and revealed significant differences between the groups. Controls showed no severe identity problems and had assimilated an image of more nurturant mothers. Drug-abusers were seen to have identity problems of long-term duration and had not assimilated a maternal image which was perceived as managerial and narcissistic. Implications of these findings are discussed, including problems and possibilities for therapeutic intervention.