Measurement of impulsivity in a hierarchical model of personality traits: implications for substance use

Subst Use Misuse. 2003 Jan;38(1):67-83. doi: 10.1081/ja-120016566.


This review describes how measures of a prominent three-dimensional hierarchical model of personality traits relate to substance use. H. J. Eysenck proposed a biologically based model of personality that gave rise to related models such as those of J. A. Gray, C. R. Cloninger, and M. Zuckerman. The varying role of impulsivity--a trait related to disinhibition, approach motivation, novelty seeking, and sensation seeking--in successive self-report measures of this model, including the Eysenck Personality Inventory (EPI) and Eysenck Personality Questionnaire (EPQ), is described. It is argued that certain findings in experimental, cross-sectional, and longitudinal research using these measures point to the importance of impulsivity as a temperamental vulnerability factor for substance use.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Impulsive Behavior / psychology*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Models, Psychological
  • Personality Inventory*
  • Risk Factors
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology*