Testing the relations between impulsivity-related traits, suicidality, and nonsuicidal self-injury: a test of the incremental validity of the UPPS model

Donald R Lynam, Joshua D Miller, Drew J Miller, Marina A Bornovalova, C W Lejuez
Personality Disorders 2011, 2 (2): 151-60
Borderline personality disorder (BPD) has received significant attention as a predictor of suicidal behavior (SB) and nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI). Despite significant promise, trait impulsivity has received less attention. Understanding the relations between impulsivity and SB and NSSI is confounded, unfortunately, by the heterogeneous nature of impulsivity. This study examined the relations among 4 personality pathways to impulsive behavior studied via the UPPS model of impulsivity and SB and NSSI in a residential sample of drug abusers (N = 76). In this study, we tested whether these 4 impulsivity-related traits (i.e., Negative Urgency, Sensation Seeking, Lack of Premeditation, and Lack of Perseverance) provide incremental validity in the statistical prediction of SB and NSSI above and beyond BPD; they do. We also tested whether BPD symptoms provide incremental validity in the prediction of SB and NSSI above and beyond these impulsivity-related traits; they do not. In addition to the main effects of Lack of Premeditation and Negative Urgency, we found evidence of a robust interaction between these 2 personality traits. The current results argue strongly for the consideration of these 2 impulsivity-related domains--alone and in interaction--when attempting to understand and predict SB and NSSI.

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