This research compared impulsive behavior in adolescent nonsmokers with low ratings of psychopathy (n = 25) and daily smokers with low (n = 25) and high (n = 25) ratings of psychopathy. Assessments of impulsive behavior included question-based and real-time measures of delay discounting and a self report assessment of impulsivity (Barratt Impulsiveness Scale-Adolescent). Smokers with low psychopathy ratings discounted more by delay (i.e., more impulsively) than nonsmokers on both assessments of discounting; however, smokers with high psychopathy ratings did not differ from nonsmokers on either measure. Inversely, from the self report assessment of impulsivity, smokers with low psychopathy ratings did not differ from nonsmokers, but smokers with high psychopathy ratings were more impulsive than nonsmokers. These findings indicate that delay discounting and self reported impulsivity relate differently to characteristics of psychopathy in adolescent nonsmokers and smokers. Also, these findings demonstrate that there are definable subgroups of smokers for whom the frequently observed relationship between cigarette smoking and delay discounting does not apply.
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