Impulsivity: Psychometrics of impulsivity in adolescents and links to adolescent risk behaviors

December 2020
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The purpose of this dissertation was to extend the theory of impulsivity and adolescent risk behaviors. Impulsivity is commonly measured with the Barratt Impulsivity Scale (Fossati, Barratt, Acquarini, & Di Ceglie, 2002; Patton, Stanford, & Barratt, 1995). However, the psychometrics and performance of the measure is understudied in adolescent populations in the U.S. The studies in this dissertation used data from Dating It Safe, an ongoing, longitudinal study of adolescent behaviors of a large, high school-based sample of 894 ethnically and socioeconomically diverse adolescents (mean age of 17 years in 2012, Wave 3). The psychometrics of the BIS-11-A (Fossati et al., 2002) is assessed in the current sample of high school adolescents. Then, an adapted 28-item BIS-11-A was used to determine the association of impulsivity with two understudied adolescent risk behaviors, prescription medication misuse and reproductive coercion. The purpose of examining impulsivity with these risk behaviors was to test the performance of impulsivity measures in this sample of adolescents, as well as determine whether impulsivity is a related factor in prescription medication misuse and reproductive coercion. In Aim 1, a two factor, 28-item BIS-11-A was the best fitting factor structure for the current study sample. Aim 2 determined patterns of a risk behavior, prescription medication misuse from adolescence to early adulthood, and examined the association between prescription medication misuse and impulsivity. Aim 3 examined the relationship between impulsivity and reproductive coercion perpetration and victimization and found no significant relationship. Reproductive coercion behaviors may require more planning and forethought. Exploring the performance of the BIS-11-A provides more psychometrics for the measure in adolescents in the U.S. and provides insight on impulsive behaviors as a risk factor for substance use and intimate partner violence.

Health Sciences, Public Health, Psychology, Psychometrics, Psychology, Behavioral