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The Drunken Self: The Five-Factor Model as an Organizational Framework for Characterizing Perceptions of One's Own Drunkenness


Reprint requests: Rachel P. Winograd, MA, University of Missouri-Columbia, 200 South 7th St, Columbia, MO 65201; Tel.: 510-306-5661; Fax: 573-884-5588; E-mail:



Existing literature supports the use of the five-factor model (FFM) personality dimensions (i.e., Neuroticism, Extraversion, Agreeableness, Intellect, and Conscientiousness) as a comprehensive representation of mood, affect, and behavior. This study evaluated the use of the FFM as an organizational framework for understanding self-reported perceptions of drunkenness (i.e., mood, affect, and behavior associated with alcohol intoxication).


Cross-sectional data were obtained through an online survey of college student drinkers (N = 988; 50% male, 85% white, mean age = 18.2) in an Introductory Psychology course at a large, mid-western university. Participants reported on their perceptions of their sober and drunk “personalities” by rating items from Goldberg's International Personality Item Pool.


Confirmatory factor analysis showed that sober and drunk personality structures fit the data equally well. On average, differences between perceived drunken and sober personality were pervasive; each of the 5 factors differed as a function of drunk versus sober state with perceived drunken personality associated with (in order of effect size) less conscientiousness, less intellect, less agreeableness, more extraversion, and less neuroticism. These general patterns varied by sex and drinking pattern.


Findings support the use of the FFM as a framework for organizing self-reported perceptions of global changes in “personality” that occur under intoxication.