Impulsivity in the general population: A national study

Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University/New York State Psychiatric Institute, 1051 Riverside Drive, New York, NY, USA.
Journal of Psychiatric Research (Impact Factor: 3.96). 05/2012; 46(8):994-1001. DOI: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2012.04.023
Source: PubMed


The construct of impulsivity is an important determinant of personality differences, psychiatric disorders, and associated risk-taking behaviors. Most existing knowledge about impulsivity comes from clinical samples. To date, no study has estimated the prevalence of impulsivity and examined its correlates in the general population.
We analyzed data from a large national sample of the United States population. Face-to-face surveys of 34 653 adults aged 18 years and older residing in households were conducted during the 2004-2005 period. Diagnoses of mood, anxiety, and drug disorders as well as personality disorders were based on the Alcohol Use Disorder and Associated Disabilities Interview Schedule-DSM-IV Version.
Impulsivity was common (17% of the sample), particularly among males and younger individuals, and associated with a broad range of axis I and II disorders, particularly drug dependence, cluster B, dependent and schizotypal personality disorders, bipolar disorder and ADHD. It was associated with behavioral disinhibition, attention deficits, and lack of planning. Individuals with impulsivity were more likely to engage in behaviors that could be dangerous to themselves or others, including driving recklessly, starting fights, shoplifting, perpetrating domestic violence and trying to hurt or kill themselves. They were exposed to higher risk of lifetime trauma and to substantial physical and psychosocial impairment.
Given the association of impulsivity with psychiatric disorders and multiple adverse events, there is a need to target impulsivity in prevention and treatment efforts.

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Available from: Shuai Wang, Feb 13, 2014
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    • "Impulsivity has been found to decline with age ( Steinberg et al . , 2008 ) , as well as different impulsivity characteristics reported between men and women ( Chamorro et al . , 2012 ) . Evidences suggest gray matter reductions in the bilateral caudate , pallidum , amygdala and hippocampus over lifespan ( Giorgio et al . , 2010 ) . Furthermore , there are evidences for sex - specific structural brain differences ( Giedd et al . , 2012 ) . The gray matter reduction with age in the caudate was furthermore found to be "
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    • "mania), but might also predispose healthy individuals to develop the disorder. In line with these findings, Chamorro and colleagues showed that more impulsive actions correlated with the occurrence of bipolar disorder in a community sample (Chamorro et al., 2012). Nevertheless, studies exploring impulsivity in individuals at high risk for BD are still rare, and mainly focus on the genetic risk. "
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