The Substance Use Risk Profile Scale (SURPS) is based on a model of personality risk for substance abuse in which four personality dimensions (hopelessness, anxiety sensitivity, impulsivity, and sensation seeking) are hypothesized to differentially relate to specific patterns of substance use. The current series of studies is a preliminary exploration of the psychometric properties of the SURPS in two populations (undergraduate and high school students). In study 1, an analysis of the internal structure of two versions of the SURPS shows that the abbreviated version best reflects the 4-factor structure. Concurrent, discriminant, and incremental validity of the SURPS is supported by convergent/divergent relationships between the SURPS subscales and other theoretically relevant personality and drug use criterion measures. In Study 2, the factorial structure of the SURPS is confirmed and evidence is provided for its test-retest reliability and validity with respect to measuring personality vulnerability to reinforcement-specific substance use patterns. In Study 3, the SURPS was administered in a more youthful population to test its sensitivity in identifying younger problematic drinkers. The results from the current series of studies demonstrate support for the reliability and construct validity of the SURPS, and suggest that four personality dimensions may be linked to substance-related behavior through different reinforcement processes. This brief assessment tool may have important implications for clinicians and future research. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.