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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    • "The Big Five factors sometimes have different names in the literature; this study uses " extraversion , agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism , and openness to experience " as labels (McCrae & Costa, 1997). Some personality researchers position the concepts of impulsivity and sensation seeking in one conceptual construct such as " impulsive sensation seeking " (Cloninger, Svrakic, & Prybeck, 1993; Eysenck, 1993; McDaniel & Mahan, 2008; Zuckerman, 1994; Zuckerman et al., 1993), while others treat impulsivity and sensation seeking as two distinct constructs (Smith et al., 2007; Whiteside & Lynam, 2001). For example, Webster and Crysel (2012) found a two-factor structure of the " Impulsive Sensation seeking Scale " with a correlation of 0.68 between the impulsivity (Imp-4) and sensation seeking (SS-4) subscales. "
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    ABSTRACT: Although personality is a key determinant of consumer purchasing decision making, the role of personality traits in impulse buying and variety seeking is not conclusive. This research uses a personality perspective to determine the unique associations among impulse buying tendency (IBT), variety seeking tendency (VST), and the Big Five personality traits within one integrated framework. Based on data from a nationally representative sample of 1644 Norwegian adults, the results show that while IBT and VST might be correlated, they differ significantly with respect to two major personality aspects: "neuroticism" and "openness to experience." Specifically, the present study indicates that neuroticism predicted IBT positively and VST negatively, while openness was a strong predictor of VST and unrelated to IBT.
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    • "The UPPS Impulsive Behavior Scale (UPPS; Whiteside & Lynam, 2001) is a factor-analytically derived self-report measure of four types of impulsive characteristics: Negative Urgency, (Lack of) Perseverance, (Lack of) Premeditation , and Sensation-Seeking. The convergent, discriminant, and predictive validity of the UPPS has been demonstrated (Smith et al., 2007; Whiteside, Lynam, Miller, & Reynolds, 2005). This study used the 16-item short-form, which consists of four items from each impulsivity subscale (available from the authors). "
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    ABSTRACT: Suicide attempts are often regarded as impulsive acts. However, there is little consensus regarding the definition or clinical characteristics of an "impulsive" attempt. To clarify this issue, we examined 3 indicators of the impulsivity of an attempt: (a) preparation, (b) time contemplating the attempt, and (c) self-report that impulsivity motivated the attempt. We examined relationships among the indicators and their relationship to trait impulsivity and characteristics of the suicide attempt. Adult participants (N = 205) with a history of suicide attempts were administered validated interviews and questionnaires. In general, the 3 attempt impulsivity indicators correlated only moderately with each other and not at all with trait impulsivity or with important characteristics of the attempt (e.g., lethality, preattempt communication, motivations). However, there were 2 exceptions. First, intent to die was inversely related to the 3 attempt impulsivity indicators (rs ranged from -.17 to .45) such that more impulsive attempts were associated with lower intent. Second, self-report that the attempt was motivated by impulsivity was related to 3 facets of trait impulsivity (rs ranged from .16 to .41). These findings suggest that individuals endorsing trait impulsivity are likely to describe their attempts as motivated by impulsivity, regardless of the presence of preparation or prolonged contemplation. Overall, study results suggest that the common conception of a unidimensional impulsive attempt may be inaccurate and that the emphasis on general impulsivity in prevention guidelines should be tempered. Implications for suicide risk assessment and prevention are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record
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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.
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