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1.  Negative Urgency, Distress Tolerance, and Substance Abuse Among College Students 
Addictive Behaviors  2012;37(10):1075-1083.
Negative affect has been consistently linked with substance use/problems in prior research. The present study sought to build upon these findings by exploring how an individual’s characteristic responding to negative affect impacts substance abuse risk. Trait negative affect was examined in relation to substance abuse outcomes along with two variables tapping into response to negative affect: Distress Tolerance, an individual’s perceived ability to tolerate negative affect, and Negative Urgency, the tendency to act rashly while experiencing distress.
Participants were 525 first-year college students (48.1% male, 81.1% Caucasian), who completed self-report measures assessing personality traits and alcohol-related problems, and a structured interview assessing past and current substance use. Relations were tested using Zero-Inflated Negative Binomial regression models, and each of the personality variables was tested in a model on its own, and in a model where all three traits were accounted for.
Negative Urgency emerged as the best predictor, relating to every one of the substance use outcome variables even when trait negative affect and Distress Tolerance were accounted for.
These findings suggest that Negative Urgency is an important factor to consider in developing prevention and intervention efforts aimed at reducing substance use and problems.
PMCID: PMC3389263  PMID: 22698894
negative urgency; substance abuse; distress tolerance; negative affect; alcohol
2.  Drinking Motives as Mediators of the Impulsivity-Substance Use Relation: Pathways for Negative Urgency, Lack of Premeditation, and Sensation Seeking 
Addictive Behaviors  2012;37(7):848-855.
Trait impulsivity is a reliable, robust predictor of risky, problematic alcohol use. Mounting evidence supports a multidimensional model of impulsivity, whereby several distinct traits serve as personality pathways to rash action. Different impulsivity-related traits may predispose individuals to drink for different reasons (e.g., to enhance pleasure, to cope with distress) and these different motives may, in turn, influence drinking behavior. Previous findings support such a mediational model for two well-studied traits: sensation seeking and lack of premeditation. This study addresses other impulsivity-related traits, including negative urgency. College students (N = 432) completed questionnaires assessing personality, drinking motives, and multiple indicators of problematic drinking. Negative urgency, sensation seeking, and lack of premeditation were all significantly related to problematic drinking. When drinking motives were included in the model, direct effects for sensation seeking and lack of premeditation remained significant, and indirect effects of sensation seeking and lack of premeditation on problematic drinking were observed through enhancement motives. A distinct pathway was observed for negative urgency. Negative urgency bore a significant total effect on problematic drinking through both coping and enhancement motives. This study highlights unique motivational pathways through which different impulsive traits may operate, suggesting that interventions aimed at preventing or reducing problematic drinking should be tailored to individuals' personalities. For instance, individuals high in negative urgency may benefit from learning healthier strategies for coping with distress.
PMCID: PMC3356454  PMID: 22472524
impulsivity; urgency; drinking motives; alcohol
3.  Drinking to Distraction: Does Alcohol Increase Attentional Bias in Adults with ADHD? 
Previous research has shown that social drinkers continue to show attentional bias towards alcohol-related stimuli even after consuming a moderate dose of alcohol. In contrast, little is known about how alcohol acutely affects attentional bias in groups at risk to develop alcohol-related problems, such as adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Such individuals may show increased attentional bias following alcohol relative to nonclinical controls. The present study tested this hypothesis by examining acute alcohol effects on attentional bias in 20 social drinkers with ADHD and 20 social drinkers with no history of ADHD. Participants performed a visual-probe task after receiving the following doses of alcohol: 0.64 g/kg, 0.32 g/kg, and 0.0 g/kg (placebo). Those in the ADHD group showed increased attentional bias under active alcohol doses, whereas attentional bias was similar across doses in the control group. Attentional bias predicted ad libitum alcohol consumption during a taste-rating session. This relation was observed only in the ADHD group. These findings indicate that an acute alcohol dose increases attentional bias in adults with ADHD. Further, attentional bias appears to be a predictor of ad libitum consumption in this group.
PMCID: PMC3338153  PMID: 22121850
Attentional bias; ADHD; Alcohol; Ad libitum consumption; At-risk drinkers
4.  Linking Impulsivity and Inhibitory Control Using Manual and Oculomotor Response Inhibition Tasks 
Acta psychologica  2011;138(3):419-428.
Separate cognitive processes govern the inhibitory control of manual and oculomotor movements. Despite this fundamental distinction, little is known about how these inhibitory control processes relate to more complex domains of behavioral functioning. This study sought to determine how these inhibitory control mechanisms relate to broadly defined domains of impulsive behavior. Thirty adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and 28 comparison adults performed behavioral measures of inhibitory control and completed impulsivity inventories. Results suggest that oculomotor inhibitory control, but not manual inhibitory control, is related to specific domains of self-reported impulsivity. This finding was limited to the ADHD group; no significant relations between inhibitory control and impulsivity were found in comparison adults. These results highlight the heterogeneity of inhibitory control processes and their differential relations to different facets of impulsivity.
PMCID: PMC3205291  PMID: 21982865
impulsivity; inhibitory control; manual; oculomotor; ADHD
5.  Does Response Variability Predict Distractibility among Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder? 
Psychological assessment  2011;23(2):427-436.
Increased intra-individual variability in response time (RTSD) has been observed reliably in ADHD and is often used as a measure of inattention. RTSD is assumed to reflect attentional lapses and distractibility, though evidence for the validity of this connection is lacking. We assessed whether RTSD is an indicator of inattention by comparing RTSD on the stop-signal task (SST) to performance on the Delayed Oculomotor Response (DOR) Task, a measure of distractibility. Participants included 30 adults with ADHD and 28 controls. Participants completed the SST and the DOR task, which measured subjects’ ability to maintain attention and avoid distraction by inhibiting reflexive saccades toward distractors. On the SST, the ADHD group was slower to inhibit than controls, indicating poorer inhibitory control in ADHD. The ADHD group also displayed slower RTs, greater RTSD, and more omission errors. On the DOR task, the ADHD group displayed more premature saccades (i.e., greater distractibility) than controls. Greater variability in RT was associated with increased distraction on the DOR task but only in ADHD participants. Results suggest that RTSD is linked to distractibility among adults with ADHD and support the use of RTSD as a valid measure of inattention in ADHD.
PMCID: PMC3115498  PMID: 21443365
ADHD; adults; variable attention; eye movements
6.  Separating Automatic and Intentional Inhibitory Mechanisms of Attention in Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder 
Journal of abnormal psychology  2011;120(1):223-233.
Researchers in the cognitive sciences recognize a fundamental distinction between automatic and intentional mechanisms of inhibitory control. The use of eye-tracking tasks to assess selective attention has led to a better understanding of this distinction in specific populations such as children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This study examined automatic and intentional inhibitory control mechanisms in adults with ADHD using a saccadic interference (SI) task and a delayed ocular response (DOR) task. Thirty adults with ADHD were compared to 27 comparison adults on measures of inhibitory control. The DOR task showed that adults with ADHD were less able than comparison adults to inhibit a reflexive saccade towards the sudden appearance of a stimulus in the periphery. However, SI task performance showed that the ADHD group did not differ significantly from the comparison group on a measure of automatic inhibitory control. These findings suggest a dissociation between automatic and intentional inhibitory deficits in adults with ADHD.
PMCID: PMC3065892  PMID: 21058752
ADHD; inhibition; automatic; intentional
7.  Behavioral Components of Impulsivity Predict Alcohol Consumption in Adults with ADHD and Healthy Controls 
Drug and alcohol dependence  2010;113(2-3):139-146.
The degree to which distinct behavioral components of impulsivity predict alcohol consumption is as yet not well-understood. Further, the possibility that this relation might be more pronounced in groups characterized by heightened impulsivity (i.e., individuals with ADHD) has not been tested.
The current study examined the degree to which three specific behavioral components of impulsivity (i.e., poor response inhibition, poor attentional inhibition, and increased risk-taking) were associated with quantity and frequency of alcohol consumption in a group of young adult social drinkers with ADHD (n = 33) and in a comparison control group (n = 21). Participants performed the delayed ocular return task (attentional inhibition), the cued go/no-go task (behavioral inhibition), and the Balloon Analogue Risk Task (risk-taking).
Both poor behavioral inhibition and greater risk-taking were related to greater quantity of consumption in the entire sample, whereas poor attentional inhibition was related to greater quantity specifically among those with ADHD. By contrast, only risk-taking was associated with frequency of consumption, and this was found specifically in the control group.
These findings provide important information regarding the potential role of distinct behavioral components of impulsivity in drinking behavior, and highlight unique relevance of attentional impairments to drinking behavior in those with ADHD.
PMCID: PMC3010339  PMID: 20863628
behavioral impulsivity; alcohol consumption; ADHD
8.  Impulsivity and Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder: Subtype Classification Using the UPPS Impulsive Behavior Scale 
This study examined the classification accuracy of the UPPS Impulsive Behavior Scale (UPPS) in discriminating several attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) subtypes, including predominantly inattentive type (ADHD/I), combined type (ADHD/C), and combined type with behavioral problems (ADHD/ODD), between each other and a non-ADHD control group using logistic regression analyses. The sample consisted of 88 children ranging in age from 9.0 years to 12.8 years, with a mean of 10.9 years. Children were predominantly male (74%) and Caucasian (86%) and in grades 3–7. Results indicated that the UPPS performed well in classifying ADHD subtypes relative to traditional diagnostic measures. In addition, analyses indicated that differences in symptoms between subtypes can be explained by specific pathways to impulsivity. Implications for the assessment of ADHD and conceptual issues are discussed.
PMCID: PMC3137261  PMID: 21765593
ADHD; Impulsivity; UPPS; ADHD subtypes

Results 1-8 (8)