Measuring impulsivity in adolescents with serious substance and conduct problems

Assessment. 2006 Mar;13(1):3-15. doi: 10.1177/1073191105282247.


Adolescents with substance use and conduct disorders have high rates of aggression and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), all of which have been characterized in part by impulsivity. Developing measures that capture impulsivity behaviorally and correlate with self-reported impulsivity has been difficult. One promising behavioral measure, however, is a variant of the continuous performance test, the Immediate Memory Test/Delayed Memory Test (IMT/DMT). The authors showed significant group differences between adolescents in treatment for serious substance and conduct problems and community controls on impulsivity measures, both behavioral and self-report, as well as on aggression and problem behavior measures. Furthermore, the IMT/DMT correlated significantly with self-reported impulsivity. In summary, the IMT/DMT may be an effective behavioral measure of impulsivity in adolescents.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Aggression / psychology
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / epidemiology*
  • Conduct Disorder / epidemiology*
  • Disruptive, Impulse Control, and Conduct Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Disruptive, Impulse Control, and Conduct Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory*
  • Prevalence
  • Psychological Tests*
  • Signal Detection, Psychological
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology*