Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type



Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Dr. Gregory T. Smith


The current pair of experimental studies sought to further validate the role of positive urgency (acting rashly when in an extreme positive emotional state) as a risk factor for impulsive and maladaptive behavior. Previous research has supported the use of emotion-based dispositions to rash action in predicting a wide range of maladaptive acts. However, that research relied on self-reported behavior, thus lacking (1) tight experimental controls and (2) direct observation of risky behaviors. In the two experimental studies described here, I found that, among college students, (1) previous cross-sectional relationships between risk and positive urgency were supported (n = 104), (2) positive urgency significantly predicted negative outcomes on a gambling task following a positive mood manipulation (n = 94), and (3) positive urgency significantly predicted increases in beer consumption following positive mood induction (n = 33). Positive urgency's role was above and beyond previously identified risk factors; these findings combined with prior cross-sectional and longitudinal field studies provide strong support for the role of positive urgency in rash action.



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