Positive and negative urgency as a single coherent construct: Evidence from a large-scale network analysis in clinical and non-clinical samples

J Pers. 2021 Dec;89(6):1252-1262. doi: 10.1111/jopy.12655. Epub 2021 Jul 1.


Aims: Negative and positive urgency are emotion-related impulsivity traits that are thought to be transdiagnostic factors in psychopathology. However, it has recently been claimed that these two traits are closely related to each other and that considering them separately might have limited conceptual and methodological value. The present study aimed to examine whether positive and negative urgency constructs constitute separate impulsivity traits.

Methods: In contrast to previous studies that have used latent variable approaches, this study employed an item-based network analysis conducted in two different samples: a large sample of non-clinical participants (N = 18,568) and a sample of clinical participants with psychiatric disorders (N = 385).

Results: The network analysis demonstrated that items denoting both positive and negative urgency cohere as a single cluster of items termed "general urgency" in both clinical and non-clinical samples, thereby suggesting that differentiating positive and negative urgency as separate constructs is not necessary.

Conclusion: These findings have important implications for the conceptualization and assessment of urgency and, more broadly, for future research on impulsivity, personality, and psychopathology.

Keywords: UPPS; impulsivity; negative urgency; network analysis; positive urgency; urgency.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Impulsive Behavior*
  • Mental Disorders*
  • Personality
  • Psychopathology