Impulsive dispositions and alcohol: What we know, how we know it, and where to go from here


Background: Relations between impulsigenic traits and alcohol-related outcomes have been the focus of much research, yet precise relations remain elusive. Historically, research used broadband conceptualizations of impulsivity, which yielded inconclusive findings. Attempts to ameliorate this problem led to more work on narrowband assessments of impulsivity. Despite that several narrowband self-report measures exist, few demonstrate adequate psychometric properties. Given the limits of self-report, researchers have also utilized laboratory-based measures of impulsive dispositions; however, this seems to have contributed more uncertainty to the literature. Review: We review commonly used self-report and laboratory-based measures of narrowband impulsivity, as well as assessments of alcohol-related constructs (e.g., consumption and consequences). We discuss remaining issues in impulsivity and alcohol assessment, which limit understanding of how impulsigenic traits influence alcohol-related behaviors. Cutting-edge conceptualizations and assessment of state-level impulsivity are also discussed. Conclusions: More work is necessary to further this area of research, including establishing consistent nomenclature and a cohesive conceptualization of impulsigenic traits as they relate to alcohol use and alcohol use disorders.

Borderline Personality Disorder and Emotion Dysregulation