On the Validity and Utility of Discriminating Among Impulsivity-Like Traits

University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, United States
Assessment (Impact Factor: 3.29). 07/2007; 14(2):155-70. DOI: 10.1177/1073191106295527
Source: PubMed


The ability to make precise distinctions among related personality constructs helps clarify theory and increases the utility of clinical assessment. In three studies, the authors evaluated the validity of distinctions among four impulsivity-like traits: sensation seeking, lack of planning, lack of persistence, and urgency (acting rashly when distressed). Factor analyses indicated that lack of planning and lack of persistence are two distinct facets of one broader trait, whereas urgency and sensation seeking are both very modestly related to each other and to the planning/persistence measures. The authors developed interview assessments of each, and multitrait, multimethod matrix results indicated clear convergent and discriminant validity among the constructs. The distinctions among them were useful: The traits accounted for different aspects of risky behaviors. Sensation seeking appeared to relate to the frequency of engaging in risky behaviors, and urgency appeared to relate to problem levels of involvement in those behaviors.

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    • "consistency coefficient in the current study was 0.80. It has good convergent and divergent validity (Smith et al., 2007; Whiteside and Lynam, 2001; Whiteside et al., 2005). We used a past-month timeline of inquiry for consistency with PTSD ratings. "
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    ABSTRACT: Research indicates a significant relationship between posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and impulsivity (Kotler, Julian, Efront, and Amir, J Nerv Ment Dis 189:162-167, 2001; Ledgerwood and Petry, J Trauma Stress 19:411-416, 2006). The present study assessed relations between PTSD symptom clusters and impulsivity subscales in an effort to assess the specific impulsivity component most related to PTSD's alterations in arousal/reactivity and alterations in mood/cognitions symptoms. In the current study, the PTSD Checklist for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition, and the UPPS Impulsivity Scale were administered to a sample of 412 nonclinical subjects with a trauma history. Results indicated that PTSD's alterations in arousal/reactivity and mood/cognition factors were most related to impulsivity's sensation-seeking tendency compared with other impulsivity components. Results highlight the importance of assessing and addressing (1) sensation-seeking tendencies and (2) urges to act impulsively when experiencing negative affect in trauma treatment. Furthermore, it is possible that sensation-seeking tendencies are primarily driving the comorbidity between PTSD and certain impulsive behaviors.
    The Journal of nervous and mental disease 11/2015; DOI:10.1097/NMD.0000000000000417 · 1.69 Impact Factor
    • "consistency coefficient in the current study was 0.80. It has good convergent and divergent validity (Smith et al., 2007; Whiteside and Lynam, 2001; Whiteside et al., 2005). We used a past-month timeline of inquiry for consistency with PTSD ratings. "

    Journal of Nervous & Mental Disease 10/2015; · 1.69 Impact Factor
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    • "Third, the present study sought to test the specific interaction between trait measures of sensation seeking and premeditation, but other dispositions toward impulsive behavior may explain additional variance in substance abuse outcomes, or may buffer or enhance the effects observed in the present study. For instance, positive and negative urgency— which reflect dispositions toward positive and negative emotionbased rash action—are critical and independent determinants of problem behaviors in themselves (Cyders & Smith, 2007) and may similarly interact with impulsive traits specified in the present study. Relatedly, we encourage future research to examine the developmental asymmetry model using behavioral measures of these constructs as well. "
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    ABSTRACT: Young adulthood is a peak period for externalizing behaviors such as substance abuse and antisocial conduct. Evidence from developmental neuroscience suggests that externalizing conduct within this time period may be associated with a "developmental asymmetry" characterized by an early peak in sensation seeking combined with a relatively immature impulse control system. Trait measures of impulsivity - sensation seeking and premeditation - are psychological manifestations of these respective systems, and multiple prior studies suggest that high sensation seeking and low premeditation independently confer risk for distinct forms of externalizing behaviors. The goal of the present study was to test this developmental asymmetry hypothesis, examining whether trait premeditation moderates the effect of sensation seeking on substance use and problems, aggression, and rule-breaking behavior. Using a cross-sectional sample of college-enrolled adults (n = 491), we applied zero-inflated modeling strategies to examine the likelihood and level of risky externalizing behaviors. Results indicated that lower premeditation enhanced the effect of higher sensation seeking on higher levels of positive and negative alcohol consequences, more frequent drug use, and more problematic drug use, but was unrelated to individual differences in antisocial behaviors. Our findings indicate that the developmental asymmetry between sensation seeking and a lack of premeditation is a risk factor for individual differences in problematic substance use among young adults, and may be less applicable for antisocial behaviors among high functioning individuals.
    Psychology of Addictive Behaviors 09/2015; 29(3):753-765. DOI:10.1037/adb0000075 · 2.09 Impact Factor
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