Year of Publication

2005

Document Type

Thesis

College

Arts and Sciences

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Gregory T. Smith

Abstract

The aim of the current series of studies was to begin the process of examining whether a propensity to act rashly in response to positive affective states (positive urgency) increases the likelihood of engaging in risky, maladaptive, and harmful acts. We theorized that this trait may account for some types of risky drinking behavior not explained by other risk factors, particularly for college students. In the current series of studies, an internally consistent (=.94), unidimensional scale was developed. This scale was shown to have convergent validity across methods and discriminant validity from other types of impulsivity. For both alcohol use and risky behavior, positive urgency explained variance not explained by other forms of impulsivity. Cross-sectional tests were consistent with the hypothesis that positive urgency leads to positive alcohol expectancies, which lead to increased drinking, which leads to involvement in risky behavior. This possibility should be examined prospectively.

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