Article

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

ABSTRACT

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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    • "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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    • "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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