Emotion-based impulsivity and its importance for impulsive behavior outcomes

Melissa A. Cyders, Jessica Combs, Regan E. Fried, Tamika C.B. Zapolski, Gregory T. Smith

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Impulsivity has long been considered an important risk factor for a variety of maladaptive behaviors, such as alcohol use, drug use, and eating disorders. However, different authors have used the term to mean different things. In recent years, the construct has been disaggregated into five, separate personality traits. In this chapter, after reviewing the varied definitions of impulsivity that have existed in the literature, we review and describe the five traits. Two of them can be best described as deficits in conscientiousness (including lack of persistence in tasks and lack of deliberation before performing tasks), two can be described as emotion-based dispositions (including tendencies to engage in rash actions when experiencing very positive or very negative emotions), and the fifth is sensation seeking. We then discuss the differential correlates of each of these dispositions, the clinical implications of their roles in risky behaviors, and the particular importance of emotion-based rash action. We conclude by proposing new directions of research for the continued study of impulsive behavior-related disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationImpulsivity
Subtitle of host publicationCauses, Control and Disorders
Number of pages22
StatePublished - 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology
  • General Medicine


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