Utilizing a multimodal assessment strategy to examine variations of impulsivity among young adults engaged in co-occurring smoking and binge drinking behaviors

Drug Alcohol Depend. 2013 Jan 1;127(1-3):150-5. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2012.06.026. Epub 2012 Jul 18.


Background: Smoking among young adults predicts a greater severity of alcohol use and contributes to an increased difficulty in maturing out of heavy drinking behaviors that are established during college. Moreover, research has implicated impulsivity in the initiation and maintenance of both behaviors. Much less is known, however, about potential variations of impulsivity among young adults and whether a relationship exists between this construct and abstinence from smoking. As a result, this study examined differences and changes in trait and behavioral indices of impulsivity as a function of binge drinking among a sample of cigarette smokers using a multimodal assessment strategy.

Methods: Participants (N=40) were regular cigarette smokers who reported engagement in binge drinking or no binge drinking during the past year. All participants completed self-report and behavioral assessments of impulsivity prior to and following a period of smoking abstinence.

Results: Compared to their non-binge drinking peers, binge-drinking smokers reported significantly higher scores on the UPPS (lack of) Premeditation factor (p<.05), while also exhibiting a greater deficit in inhibitory control while in a nicotine satiated state (p<.05). However, no significant differences of inhibitory control were observed between groups following the 24-h deprivation period.

Conclusions: Findings suggest that baseline differences in lack of planning and inhibitory control exist among young adults who concurrently smoke and binge drink. These results provide preliminary data for the need of tailored interventions for this population.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Binge Drinking / diagnosis
  • Binge Drinking / epidemiology*
  • Binge Drinking / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Impulsive Behavior / diagnosis
  • Impulsive Behavior / epidemiology*
  • Impulsive Behavior / psychology
  • Male
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Smoking / psychology
  • Students* / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires* / standards
  • Universities*
  • Young Adult