The development of a brief self-report questionnaire to measure 'recent' Rash Impulsivity: A preliminary investigation of its validity and association with recent alcohol consumption

Mayhew, Matthew J. and Powell, Jane H.. 2014. The development of a brief self-report questionnaire to measure 'recent' Rash Impulsivity: A preliminary investigation of its validity and association with recent alcohol consumption. Addictive Behaviors, 39(11), pp. 1597-1605. ISSN 03064603 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Background: Traditionally, impulsivity has been regarded as a stable trait. However, a series of longitudinal and behavioural laboratory studies has found that impulsivity can fluctuate within individuals, suggesting that it has a state as well as a trait manifestation. Whilst existing impulsivity questionnaires tap the former, there is no self-report instrument to assess recent fluctuations in impulsivity. Research aims and design. The present study set out to develop and undertake preliminary validation of a measure of 'recent' impulsivity, focusing in particular on Rash Impulsivity. Part of the construct validation of the resulting Recent Rash Impulsivity Scale (RRIS) entailed examining its association with recent alcohol intake, since there are well-documented reciprocal relationships between alcohol consumption and inhibitory control. In developing the RRIS, items from existing trait impulsivity questionnaires were converted into a 'previous two weeks' format. The pilot RRIS was then administered, along with a parallel trait version (Trait Rash Impulsivity Scale; TRIS) and a well-established trait impulsivity measure (the BIS-11; Patton, Stanford & Barratt, 1995), to two cohorts of first-year undergraduates aged 17 to 25 (N = 240), on two occasions one month apart. Information about habitual and recent alcohol intake was also gathered. Results: Factor analyses on both the RRIS and TRIS identified two factors: 'Cognitive Impulsivity' (CogImp) and 'Motor Impulsivity' (MotImp). Consistent with the RRIS being sensitive to fluctuations in impulsivity, it was found that, as predicted: i) the RRIS was somewhat less strongly correlated than the TRIS with an established trait measure (the BIS-11; Patton et al., 1995); ii) the test-retest stability of 'Total' scores (CogImp and MotImp) was weaker for the RRIS than the TRIS; iii) there was evidence that the RRIS MotImp and Total scales were more strongly predicted by recent alcohol intake than were their trait equivalents; and iv) the RRIS CogImp and Total scales correlated more strongly with their trait equivalents in participants whose alcohol consumption had remained stable recently (relative to their habitual intake), compared to those whose consumption had recently changed. Conclusions: These data suggest that transient changes in impulsivity can be assessed via self-report, and that the RRIS is sensitive to recent changes in alcohol intake. Subject to a more intensive and detailed validation, it is thus promising as a tool for tapping and characterising fluctuations in behavioural control and for exploring a range of factors to which this might be associated.

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Mayhew conducted this research as part of his doctoral work under Powell's supervision, funded by a joint Economic and Social Research Council and Medical Research Council 1 + 3 Interdisciplinary Studentship (award reference number: ES/1902511/1).


Alcohol; Recent impulsivity; Self-report Questionnaire; State impulsivity

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2 April 2014Published Online
November 2014Published

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22 Jul 2014 06:20

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21 Apr 2021 14:24

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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