Developmental trajectories of impulsivity and their association with alcohol use and related outcomes during emerging and young adulthood i

Andrew K. Littlefield, Kenneth J. Sher, Douglas Steinley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Research has documented normative patterns of personality change during emerging and young adulthood that reflect decreases in traits associated with substance use, such as impulsivity. However, evidence suggests variability in these developmental changes. Methods: This study examined trajectories of impulsivity and their association with substance use and related problems from ages 18 to 35. Analyses were based on data collected from a cohort of college students (N = 489), at high and low risk for AUDs, first assessed as freshmen at a large, public university. Results: Mixture modeling identified five trajectory groups that differed in baseline levels of impulsivity and developmental patterns of change. Notably, the trajectory group that exhibited the sharpest declines in impulsivity tended to display accelerated decreases in alcohol involvement from ages 18 to 25 compared to the other impulsivity groups. Conclusion: Findings highlight the developmental nature of impulsivity across emerging and young adulthood and provide an empirical framework to identify key covariates of individual changes of impulsivity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1409-1416
Number of pages8
JournalAlcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Volume34
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2010

Keywords

  • Alcohol Use Disorders
  • Impulsivity
  • Maturing Out
  • Personality Change
  • Prospective Study

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