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Multidimensional Assessment of Impulsivity in Undergraduate Hazardous Drinkers and Controls

James MacKillop, Richard E. Mattson, Emily J. Anderson MacKillop, Bryan A. Castelda, Peter J. Donovick

Objective: Alcohol misuse in college students represents a significant public health problem. Toward improving the understanding of determinants of collegiate alcohol misuse, the current study examined several dimensions of impulsivity in relation to hazardous drinking in college students. Method: A one-way, two-group, cross-sectional design was used to compare hazardous drinkers (HZD) with social drinkers (SOC). HZD drinkers were required to score 6 or more on the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT); SOC drinkers were required to score 15 on the AUDIT. The sample comprised 93 participants (56% HZD; 76% male) who were recruited from a medium-sized public university. Participants were assessed under neutral conditions using the Eysenck Impulsivity Questionnaire (EIQ), Delay Discounting Task (DDT), and Stanford Time Perspective Inventory (STPI). Results: Consistent with predictions, HZD participants exhibited significantly greater impulsivity on the EIQ-Impulsivity subscale (p < .001), the STPI-Present Hedonism subscale (p < .01), and the STPI-Future subscale (p < .01); however, no differences were evident on the DDT (p > .40). The HZD group also scored marginally higher than the SOC group on the EIQ-Venturesomeness subscale (p < .10). Conclusions: These findings suggest that greater impulsivity is associated with alcohol misuse in college students, most prominently in the area of propensity toward risk-taking and nonplanning (EIQ-Impulsivity subscale). The correspondence between these findings and previous studies, methodological considerations, and the need for prospective studies on impulsivity and alcohol misuse in college students are discussed. (J. Stud. Alcohol Drugs 68: 785-788, 2007)