Relationship Between Dark Triad, Coping Styles, Sensation Seeking And Substance Use Among Youth

Lovorka Brajković1, *, Klara Jelinčić1, Vanja Kopilaš1, 2
1 University of Zagreb Faculty of Croatian Studies, Zagreb, 10000, Croatia
2 University of Zagreb School of Medicine, Croatian Institute for Brain Research, Zagreb, 10000, Croatia

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© 2022 Brajković et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the University of Zagreb Faculty of Croatian Studies, Zagreb, 10000, Croatia; E-mail:



This study aimed to analyze the frequency of substance use in young people and to determine to what extent consumption is defined by the Dark triad of Personality, sensation seeking and stress coping styles.


The study was conducted on 367 participants aged 18 to 30 years. The questionnaire was composed of the sociodemographic questionnaire, the Short Dark Triad (SD-3), Coping Orientation to Problems Experienced Inventory (COPE), and the Sensation Seeking Scale (SSS-V).


Our results showed that young people most frequently use marijuana, followed by psychostimulants (cocaine, speed, crystal methamphetamine), psychostimulants with hallucinogenic properties (MDMA) and finally hallucinogenic drugs (LSD, PCP). Reported alcohol use was moderate to frequent. Hierarchical regression analysis showed that statistically significant predictors of psychoactive substance use explaining 45.1% of total variance were age, gender, psychopathy, Machiavellianism, boredom susceptibility, disinhibition and experience seeking. Statistically significant predictors of alcohol use explaining 19.6% of total variance were avoidant coping, disinhibition and sensation seeking.


These findings are useful in both the theoretical and practical domains of psychology in detecting groups at risk for later development of psychoactive substance use.

Keywords: Alcohol, Substance use, The dark triad of personality, Coping with stress, Sensation seeking, Risk.