An evaluation of Cloninger's typology of alcohol abuse

Claudia Sannibale*, Wayne Hall

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Aims. To evaluate Cloninger's typology of 'alcoholism' using the Alcohol Symptom Scale. Participants. A sample of 300 Australian men and women with a life-time diagnosis of DSM-III-R alcohol abuse/dependence. Measures. The Alcohol Dependence Scale, the Short Alcoholism Screening Test, the Composite International Diagnositc Interview (CIDI) Substance Abuse Module, the Brief Symptom Inventory, the CIDI core modules, the Family History Questionnaire and the Sensation Seeking Scale. Findings. The Alcohol Symptom Scale classified only 18% of the sample into either type 1 or type 2. There was mixed support for the hypothesized differences between type 1 and type 2 problem drinkers in pattern of alcohol abuse, gender, personality characteristics and familial aggregation of alcohol abuse. More women than men were classified as type 1 (19% vs. 6% but, contrary to expectations, similar numbers were classified as type 2 problem drinkers (7% vs. 4%). As predicted, type 2 problem drinkers had more symptoms of antisocial personality disorder, more social consequences of drinking and higher sensation-seeking scores than type 1 problem drinkers. Conclusions. Cloninger's typology failed to classify two types of problem drinkers and it did not predict gender differences in symptoms of alcohol dependence, family history or personality. Schuckit, Irwin and Mahler's (1990) hypothesis that type 2 problem drinkers are more likely to have primary ASPD was supported.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1241-1249
Number of pages9
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'An evaluation of Cloninger's typology of alcohol abuse'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this