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XIV Psychological Tests PDF Print E-mail
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Books - Students and Drugs
Written by Richard Blum   

This chapter continues the comparison of the ideological groups describéd in the previous chapter and of all drug users compared with non-users. We are abandoning comparisons of multiple-drug users with restricted-drug users, since that variable has been shown to relate primarily to family factors associated with prescription-drug use and to be correlated with illicit-drug use; otherwise, it sheds little light. Presented in this chapter are the results of the following psychological tests: the Allport-Vernon Scale of Values, Rokeach Dogmatism Scale, As Regressive Experience Scale, McClosky's Alienation Scale, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, California Psychological Inventory, and Strong Vocational Interest Scale. We shall present significant differences (.05 or better) on subscales. Differences significant between the .05 and .10 level will also be presented as trend data.

A serious problem in our study was that a number of students did not complete their psychological tests; for example, 20 per cent did not complete the Rokeach, Myers-Briggs, and other relatively short and possibly amusing scales; the CPI, which is long, was not returned by 26 per cent. Those who failed to return the tests were more often drug users—for example, on the CPI, 33 per cent of all drug users failed to complete the tests compared with 14 per cent for the nonusers. That high rate of noncompletion was quite in accord with the drug-using students' remarks (see previous chapter) about finding it difficult to get work in on time, their feelings of the pointlessness of much conventional academic and research activity, and their lack of interest in pleasing adults in positions of authority. A number of drug users told us—as we sought to cajole them into completion—that tests bored them and they refused to go through the exercise. Unfortunately for the study, among those who did not complete the tests were the most extreme drug users, measured either by drug histories, ideological intensity, or campus visibility. Our clinical impression was that the nonresponders were just the ones likely to score high on personality distress. This failure to complete tests, coupled with the reduction in N and especially in the drug-only and drug-plus-left groups, reduced the likelihood of significant differences being achieved.

Subscales on the Allport-Vernon Scale of Values test measure the interests and values of persons along theoretical, economic, aesthetic, social, political, and religious lines. Each student's score on each subscale was ranked so that values distributed by rank could be compared. The ideological groups differ among themselves (.013 level) on the aesthetic scale. Religious students most often receive their lowest scores on the aesthetic subscale, thus giving this the lowest ranking among the six subscales. Right-wing students have aesthetic values mid-way in rank, whereas the drug-only, pure-left, and drug-plus-leftwing groups have the majority of their members first ranked on aesthetic values. When drug users are compared with non-users, the same cluster of first-ranked aesthetic scores occurs among the former while among the latter much less emphasis is placed on aesthetic values, the difference being significant beyond the .001 level.

On political values the ideological groups differ among themselves, significant at the .016 level. Here, the concentration of first-rank scores are among right-wing students, with most other students receiving scores leading to a mid-way rank on political values; note, too, that the left-wing students are, for the most part, in that middle range. When drug users are compared with non-users, it is the non-users who more often are high ranked on political values, that difference being significant at the .02 level.

Religious values differ among ideological groups, being significant at the .002 level. As expected, the religious students most often receive scores which lead to religious values being ranked first for them; religious values of the right-wing students and drug users are ranked very low. Drug users compared with non-users are found to differ on the primacy of religious values (significant at .017), with nonusers giving primacy to religious values more often.

The Rokeach Dogmatism Scale, which is related to the F Scale for measuring authoritarianism, describes dogmatism or closed-mindedness and is related to rigidity in thinking and perceiving the world (Rokeach, 1960 ).. There is no statistically significant difference among ideological groups on score distribution, although the trend is for the greatest number of high dogmatism scores (140 and over) to be concentrated among the right-wing and the religious students. When all drug users combined are compared with non-users, differences significant at the .015 level emerge with high dogmatism more often occurring among the non-users.

The As Regressive Experience Scale is called the Experience Inquiry. This test has been shown by McGlothlin to be associated with interest in LSD. It measures regressive-mystical experiences ( Fitzgerald, 4966) and is correlated with the ability to be hypnotized ( As, 1963). Ideological groups differ on this scale, significant at the .03 level. The drug-only users have the highest scores on this test with the lowest scores being concentrated among religious and right-wing students. The left-wing-plus-drug group also has high scores. When all drug users are combined with non-users, the differences are significant beyond .001 with high regressive-experience scores being concentrated among drug users and low scores among non-users.

McClosky and Schaar (1965) have presented findings suggesting that their "anomie" scale, the McClosky's Alienation Scale, is an effective discriminator among samples of people with differing political persuasions and life experiences. We administered only the ten items of that scale (out of 500 in their global instrument), entitling it a "stateof-the-world" inquiry. No significant differences obtain among any group comparisons on this test.

McGlothlin, Cohen, and McGlothlin (1966) report finding that scales on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, a test derived from Jungian theory ( Myers-Briggs, 1962), successfully distinguished among graduate students interested in taking LSD and marijuana and those not interested. On the extroversion-vs.-introversion subscale, there are no significant differences among our subgroups. On the sensing-vs.- intuition subscale, we do find differences among ideological subgroups, significant at the .01 level. Right-wing-and-religious students score low on intuition, while the drug-left group comprises the highest scorers, with the drug-only users also high scorers. When all drug users are compared with non-users, the difference is significant beyond the .001 level—again with drug users high on intuition sensing vs. intuition and non-users low ( that is, high on sensing) . On the thinking-vs.-feeling subscale, significant differences obtain among ideological groups ( at .04 level). High scorers—those who emphasize feeling rather than thinking—are found both in the drug-only and in the pure-religious groups; the low scorers—that is, those emphasizing thinking modalities—are heavily concentrated among right-wing students. This dimension is not significant when drug users are compared with non-users (.177 level). On the judgment-vs.-perception subscale, which measures liking for structure compared with spontaneity, significant differences are found among ideological groups (at .028 level). Right-wing students emphasize judgment and prefer structure, as do religious students to a somewhat lesser extent; the drug-only and the drug-left students score high on "perception," implying the uncertain spontaneous modality. When drug users are compared with non-users, the difference is significant beyond .001.

The California Psychological Inventory ( Gough, 1956) suffered the most from drug users' being unwilling to complete it. As noted, it was our clinical impression that those who refused were the more deviant students. An overall test of CPI sum scores shows no differences among ideological groups and only on the sociability scale, among eighteen subscales, do ideological groups differ at all—and there not markedly. When drug users are combined and compared with non-users, the results show that non-users have higher scores on socialization, significant at .002. These high scores imply honesty, sincerity, responsibility, conformity, and conscientiousness. The low-scoring drug users must, conversely, be characterized, according to the manual, as "defensive, demanding, opinionated, resentful, stubborn, headstrong, rebellious, and undependable; as being guileful and deceitful in dealing with others, and as given to excess, exhibition, and ostentation in their behavior."

Trend differences, significant between .05 and .10, are observable on the dominance subscale, with non-users being more dominant. Thus, drug users, according to the manual, are more likely to be indifferent, to avoid situations of tension and decision, and to lack self-confidence. On the other hand, there is also a trend for users to score higher on social presence, defined as clever, enthusiastic, spontaneous, active, and expressive. The contradiction in trends implies the presence of several subgroups in terms of personality constellation within ideological groups. Another trend difference is on "achievement by conformance"; here, drug users score lower. The characterization of users which follows is that they are aloof, awkward, insecure, opinionated, and easily disorganized under stress or pressures to conform; they are also pessimistic about their future careers. Non-users by implication are more cooperative, capable, organized, efficient, responsible, stable, persistent, and industrious.

The Strong Vocational Interest Blank test shows how closely a person's interests correspond to the interests of those in various occupations. In presenting results, we differentiate between males and females since two different forms of the test are used. On an overall sum of scores, there is a trend among male drug users to achieve mid-range scores that are indicative of rather low levels of interest as such. Among girls, the non-users score significantly higher on overall sum scores, indicating presumably greater intensity or level of job-related interests as such.

Specific occupational-interests scores found to be associated significantly with group membership are shown separately in the following table for males and females. Few significant differences can be expected among females given the N of 19.

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SUMMARY AND COMMENT

A number of important differences occur among the ideological groups and between drug users and non-users on psychological tests. Even greater differences would have occurred had not many of the more extreme drug users refused to take the tests. On values measured by the Allport-Vernon Scale, one finds religious students low on aesthetics and high on religion. Left-wing students are high on aesthetics and mid-ranked on political interests. Right-wing students rank highest on political values and are low on religious ones. The combined drug users rank high on aesthetics, low on politics and power, and low on religion, with non-users the reverse. Other scales are not significant. On the Rokeach Dogmatism Scale, the highest dogmatism scores occur among right-wing and religious students and, when drug users are contrasted to non-users, the users are significantly less dogmatic and more open-minded. On a scale of capacity for regressive experience, related to the ability to be hypnotized and possibly to mysticism, religious and right-wing students score low. Drug users score significantly higher than non-users, suggesting more "openness" to inner experience, to regression, to mystical phenomena, and to being hypnotized. On the Myers-Briggs, a Jungian typology indicator, right-wing students are low on intuition and high on sensing, low on feeling and high on thinking, and high on judgment and low on perception. The implication of these scores is that these students are practical, rely on experience, are logical, efficient, and decisive, attend to details, require organization and structure, are impersonal, and focus on facts. The religious students score high on sensing and low on intuition, high on feeling and low on thinking, and high on judgment and low on perception. The implication is that while they are like the right-wing students in some ways—that is, they are fact oriented, attend to details and require structure—they are more sympathetic and warm, and enjoy people. They are also more adaptable. The drug-left group is high on intuition and low on sensing and high on perception and low on judgment. The implication is of depth and concentration, spontaneity, adaptability, interest in insight and complexity, of having sympathy and adaptability and, conversely, of antagonism to organization, facts, structure, and practicality. The drug-only group, those students uncontaminated by strong interests in religion or politics, score high on feeling and low on thinking, high on perception and low on judgment. They differ from the drug-left on feeling as opposed to intuition as a modality. They would be characterized as lacking discipline and perseverence, as being open-minded, easy going, and tolerant, needing to find meaning in activities, disliking the irrelevant, and vulnerable to feelings of inadequacy. When all drug users are combined and compared with non-users, the former score significantly higher on intuition and lower on sensing, as well as higher on perception and lower on judgment. Such a constellation also characterizes the drug-left group as described above. On the Myers-Briggs, no significant differences in extroversion-introversion occur.

The California Psychological Inventory discriminates significantly between drug users and non-users on only one scale and shows trends (significant between .05 and .10)- on three. These combined suggest that drug users more than non-users are undependable, guileful, rebellious, and exhibitionistic; they also seek to avoid tension, can be indifferent, lack self-confidence, and are spontaneous, expressive, active, clever, aloof, insecure, pessimistic, and disorganized under stress. Nonusers—in this sample right-wing, pure-left-wing, and religious students—are more honest, conforming, efficient, responsible, and sincere. On the Strong Vocational Interest Blank, a considerable variety of occupation-related differences are observed. The drug-left males score high as psychologists, psychiatrists, architects, school superintendents, lawyers, and advertising men. The drug-only users score high as artists, architects, salesmen, lawyers, and school superintendents. The pure-left wing emerges high on business education and osteopathy; the religious students are high as physicians, osteopaths, engineers, printers, policemen, and business educators; and the right-wing students are high as insurance salesmen and morticians. When all drug users are combined and compared with non-users, the same trends are found; in addition, nonusers differ significantly in having more interests akin to musicians, accountants, and purchasing agents. Among females, the users differ significantly from non-users in scoring higher as artists and authors and lower as housewives and teachers.

It is difficult to draw together all of these findings—most of which provide a compatible but complex set of descriptions—into a few words. Each reader may have his own preference for either compact or global characterizations. At any rate, our characterizations are as follows: The right wingers are solid, practical, unimaginative, closed-minded fellows interested in facts, organization, and power. They see the world impersonally and handle it mechanically. The religious students are also solid, honest, dogmatic people who, though they want things organized, have considerably more interest in people; this interest is always moral as well as friendly and warm-hearted. The drug users without other interests and the drug users who are also actively left are much the same. They are artistic, interested in insights of the mind, are tolerant, spontaneous, and have less interest in reality or convention. They are also superficially sympathetic, are unable to withstand tension, are opposed to structure or order, are flamboyant, untrustworthy, and often feel inadequate. Because they are not as well "socialized," they are more "psychopathic," just as McGlothlin et al. (1966) found on the MMPI. Our pure-left wingers are too rare to benefit from as many significant comparative findings; we suspect them to be aesthetically interested but quite likely unimaginative, to be honest and sincere in terms of their new creed, insensitive to human relations, and interested in ideals, power, and manipulation.

 

Our valuable member Richard Blum has been with us since Tuesday, 21 February 2012.

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