Ashley_Lynch_Final_Thesis_with_Revisions_June_2011.pdf (850.12 kB)
The role of the two-factor model of impulsivity and conscientiousness in risk-taking and harm reduction behaviours among regular ecstasy users
thesisposted on 2023-05-26, 06:22 authored by Lynch, AD
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.
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