The role of impulsivity in the aetiology of drug dependence: reward sensitivity versus automaticity.
Springer Verlag (Germany)
This article is published with open access at Springerlink.com. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License which permits any noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.
RATIONALE: Impulsivity has long been known as a risk factor for drug dependence, but the mechanisms underpinning this association are unclear. Impulsivity may confer hypersensitivity to drug reinforcement which establishes higher rates of instrumental drug-seeking and drug-taking behaviour, or may confer a propensity for automatic (non-intentional) control over drug-seeking/taking and thus intransigence to clinical intervention. METHOD: The current study sought to distinguish these two accounts by measuring Barratt Impulsivity and craving to smoke in 100 smokers prior to their completion of an instrumental concurrent choice task for tobacco (to measure the rate of drug-seeking) and an ad libitum smoking test (to measure the rate of drug-taking-number of puffs consumed). RESULTS: The results showed that impulsivity was not associated with higher rates of drug-seeking/taking, but individual differences in smoking uptake and craving were. Rather, nonplanning impulsivity moderated (decreased) the relationship between craving and drug-taking, but not drug-seeking. CONCLUSIONS: These data suggest that whereas the uptake of drug use is mediated by hypervaluation of the drug as an instrumental goal, the orthogonal trait nonplanning impulsivity confers a propensity for automatic control over well-practiced drug-taking behaviour.
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
Copyright © The Author(s) 2011.
Vol. 215, Iss. 3, pp. 567 - 580
Place of publication