The relationship between impulsivity, risk-taking propensity and nicotine dependence among older adolescent smokers
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Impulsivity and risk-taking propensity are neurobehavioral traits that reliably distinguish between smoking and non-smoking adults. However, how these traits relate to smoking quantity and nicotine dependence among older adolescent smokers is unclear. The current study examined impulsivity and risk-taking propensity in relation to smoking behavior and nicotine dependence among current older adolescent smokers (age 16-20 years; N=107). Participants completed the Barratt Impulsiveness Scale-11 (BIS-11), the Balloon Analogue Risk Task (BART), and self-report measures of smoking behavior and nicotine dependence. Results indicated a significant positive relationship between nicotine dependence and the Attention subscale (β=.20, t=2.07, p<.05) and the Non-planning subscale (β=.19, t=1.92, p<.06) of the BIS-11. Contrary to expectation, the results also indicated a significant negative relationship between performance on the BART and nicotine dependence (β=-.19, t=-2.18, p<.05), such that greater risk-taking propensity was associated with less dependence. These data suggest that impulsivity and risk-taking propensity are related to older adolescent smoking but are separable traits with distinguishable associations with nicotine dependence among adolescents. These findings support the notion that impulsivity is related to heightened nicotine dependence, but suggest that the relationship between risk-taking propensity and nicotine dependence is more ambiguous and warrants further investigation.
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