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The role of the two-factor model of impulsivity and Conscientiousness in risk- taking and harm reduction behaviours among regular ecstasy users

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Lynch, AD (2011) The role of the two-factor model of impulsivity and Conscientiousness in risk- taking and harm reduction behaviours among regular ecstasy users. PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

Previous research has shown the personality factors of impulsivity and
conscientiousness are linked to engagement in health related risk-taking behaviours
in the general population. Study 1 aimed to investigate how useful the personality
traits of rash-spontaneous impulsivity (as conceptualised by Dawe and Loxton’s
(2004) two factor model of impulsivity) and conscientiousness were in
differentiating between regular (at least monthly) ecstasy users (REU) who engaged
in additional risk-taking behaviours (e.g., sexual risk-taking, drug driving) versus
REU who did not, as well as their ability to predict REU’s engagement in additional
risk-taking behaviours. Rash-spontaneous impulsivity scores were significantly
higher in REU deemed at risk for the categories of sexual, alcohol driving and binge
risk. Interestingly, rash-spontaneous impulsivity scores were significantly lower in
REU who engaged in injecting risk-taking behaviours than REU who did not. In a
predictive fashion, rash-spontaneous impulsivity successfully predicted REU who
drove under the influence of alcohol, cannabis and party drugs. There were no
differences in conscientiousness scores between REU who engaged in risk-taking
behaviours versus REU who did not for any domain of risk-taking, and
conscientiousness did not predict engagement in any risk-taking behaviour. On a
whole, findings from Study 1 contributed to the validity of models that implicate
rash-spontaneous impulsivity in contributing to substance use and risk-taking
behaviours, whilst providing contrary results to models that implicate
conscientiousness’ role in protecting against risk-taking behaviours. Whilst this
study was exploratory in nature, these preliminary findings suggest that the rashspontaneous
factor of impulsivity plays a role in risky behaviours over and beyond
regular ecstasy use.Study 2 aimed to further investigate the extent to which both factors of Dawe
and Loxton’s (2004) model of impulsivity, rash-spontaneous impulsivity and reward
sensitivity, as well as conscientiousness were able to predict engagement in risktaking
behaviours as well as harm reduction behaviours in a larger, online sample of
REU. Study 2 also measured and controlled for the role that attitudes towards sex
and driving practices may play in predicting sexual and driving risk-taking
behaviours. Results indicated that riskier attitudes towards safer sex were predictive
of a greater frequency of engagement in risky sexual behaviours. Notably, driving
attitudes were not successful predictors of drug driving behaviour. In relation to
personality, rash-spontaneous impulsivity was a significant predictor of injecting
risk-taking behaviours, and it approached significance in relation to predicting binge
and overdose risk-taking behaviours. Additionally, rash-spontaneous impulsivity
was a significant predictor of harm reduction behaviours in an inverse fashion.
Reward sensitivity and conscientiousness were not significant predictor variables in
relation to any domain of risk-taking or of engaging in harm reduction behaviour.
On a whole, findings from Study 2 contributed to the validity of models that
implicate rash-spontaneous impulsivity in substance use and risk-taking behaviours,
whilst providing contrary results to the involvement of reward sensitivity and
conscientiousness. The clinical application and usefulness of these results regarding
the development and implementation of harm reduction programs are discussed.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: risk taking, harm reduction, personality in REU
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Date Deposited: 08 Sep 2011 00:37
Last Modified: 11 Mar 2016 05:53
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