Multiple personality dispositions to engage in rash, impulsive action

Carolyn M. Pearson, Leila Guller, Erica L. Birkley, Gregory T. Smith

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


Impulsivity has played an important role in efforts to better understand many different forms of psychopathology. Various forms of impulsivity have been linked to numerous DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders-FourthEdition; American Psychiatric Association, 1994) disorders, including borderline personality disorder, mania, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), binge eating disorder, pathological gambling, and substance use disorders, in addition to the whole section on impulse-control disorders (e.g., intermittent explosive disorder, kleptomania, and pyromania). The DSM-IV describes the essential feature of impulsecontrol disorders as "the failure to resist an impulse, drive, or temptation to perform an act that is harmful to the person or to others." Thus, it is not surprising that impulsivity has been heavily researched by personality psychologists for many decades and that this research has proven quite successful: Perhaps the most central contributions to the study of impulsivity have been made by personality researchers. In this chapter, we consider some of those contributions. We begin the chapter by reviewing important advances in personality research on impulsivity, including different traits that contribute to impulsive behavior and how these can be measured in children and adolescents. We then describe different models of risk using these impulsivity traits and how these models can help us to better understand the psychological processes at play. Next, we conclude by exploring possible avenues of future research using these impulsivity-related theories.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPsychology of Impulsivity
Number of pages20
StatePublished - Mar 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (all)
  • Psychology (all)


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