Relationship Among Attachment Security, Emotional Intelligence, Trait Anxiety, and Substance Abuse

Kristyn Collins, Walden University


Substance use among college students is a serious problem in the United States. The

existing body of literature demonstrates that multiple internal risk factors contribute to the presence of substance use and that often these risk factors co-occur. Based on attachment theory, the purpose of this quantitative study was to examine the relationships between 3 predictor variables—attachment security, trait anxiety, and emotional intelligence—and 1 criterion variable—negative consequences of substance use—to determine which internal risk factor has the greatest effect. A convenience sample of 116 undergraduate college students from multiple colleges and online universities completed online self-report survey instruments. A stepwise multiple regression revealed that although there was a weak correlation between attachment security, emotional intelligence, and negative consequences from substance use, trait anxiety was the strongest predictor of negative consequences from substance use. Understanding the significance of the presence of trait anxiety in relation to substance use may assist practitioners as they develop or administer substance use intervention programs. Increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of substance use reduction strategies could contribute to positive social change by reducing the negative impact that substance use has on individuals, families, and surrounding communities.