Objective: In light of the opioid epidemic, there is a need to identify factors that predict aberrant opioid behaviors including misuse and abuse. Impulsivity has been extensively studied in addiction literature, but not in the context of opioid misuse. Hence, this study aimed to identify which of the impulsivity facets (negative urgency, positive urgency, sensation seeking, lack of perseverance, and lack of premeditation) would predict current aberrant opioid-related behaviors in patients with chronic pain.
Methods: Data were collected through an online survey from patients with chronic pain who visited a tertiary pain clinic. Patients were predominately female (74%), middle aged (M = 55 years), and White/Caucasian (84%). Upon consent, they completed a series of surveys including UPPS-P Impulsive Behavior Scale, the Current Opioid misuse Measure, Pain Catastrophizing Scale, PROMIS-anxiety, depression, and physical function, and a 0-10 numerical pain rating scale. Ordinal regression analyses were conducted to test study hypotheses.
Results: Contrary to expectations, only lack of premeditation predicted higher odds of aberrant opioid-related behaviors in the past 30 days, after controlling for known covariates, and explained 26% of variance. Interestingly, lack of premeditation together with pain catastrophizing as a covariate explained 56% of the variance in aberrant opioid-related behaviors.
Discussion: The current study is the first to identify a potential role of lack of premeditation as an impulsivity facet predicting aberrant opioid-related behaviors among patients with chronic pain.
Keywords: Impulsivity; aberrant opioid-related behaviors; chronic pain; current prescription opioid misuse; lack of premeditation; non-planning impulsivity.