Personality traits as predictors of readiness to change among treatment-seeking substance use disorder patients in Northern Nigeria

  • Okechukwu Jude Oguizu
  • Chuka Mike Ifeagwazi
  • JohnBosco Chika Chukwuorji


Readiness to change drug use is a pertinent issue in the management of substance abuse/dependence. However, there is limited research on the factors that influence readiness to change, particularly in non-Western mental healthcare settings, including Nigeria. This study examined the roles of personality traits in readiness to change among drug addicts in Northern Nigeria. Readiness to change comprises recognition of drug use problem, ambivalence towards drug use, and taking steps to change drug use behaviour. Participants were seventy patients drawn from Drug Alcohol Treatment Education and Rehabilitation (DATER) centre, hospital wards and out-patient department of Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Barnawa, Kaduna state, Nigeria. They completed two instruments which were the Big Five Inventory (BFI) and Stages of Change Readiness and Treatment Eagerness Scale (SOCRATES - 8). The study’s hypotheses were tested using hierarchical multiple regression. Results showed that openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, and neuroticism did not significantly predict recognition, ambivalence and taking steps. Agreeableness negatively predicted recognition, and positively predicted taking steps, but it did not significantly predict ambivalence. These findings highlight the need to consider personality traits, especially agreeableness, in studies, theoretical postulations and interventions to enhance individuals’ recognition and actions towards changing drug use behaviour.