Multi-impulsivity within an adolescent psychiatric population

Matthew S. Stanford, Debbie Ebner, Jim H. Patton, Jack Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The primary purposes of this study were: (1) to determine if total scores on the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R) are significantly related to the number of impulsive behaviors a patient displays; (2) to determine if within a population of adolescent psychiatric patients there exists a subgroup of individuals who displays multiple impulsive behaviors; (3) to determine if multi-impulsivity is a useful concept within a female sample; and (4) to determine if the PCL-R is useful for measuring behavioral impulsiveness in females. The current study extends past multi-impulsive research by: (1) studying adolescents from a residential psychiatric facility; (2) the inclusion of enuresis as an impulsive behavior; (3) the inclusion of female patients; and (4) the use of the PCL-R, a behavioral checklist designed to measure psychopathic behavior. The results indicate that the total score on the PCL-R is significantly related to the number of impulsive behaviors exhibited by a patient. The number of impulsive behaviors displayed was not related to a patient's age, IQ, length of present stay, educational placement or number of restraints per month. Multiple impulsive behaviors were evident in 88% of the adolescent patients and equally present in both the male (87%) and female (89%) subgroups. Male patients exhibiting three or more impulsive behaviors from a markedly different subgroup of multi-impulsive patients who scored significantly higher on the PCL-R. It is suggested that these patients may suffer from a true generalized lack of impulse control. These results are consistent with and lend support to previous studies on the concept of multi-impulsivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)395-402
Number of pages8
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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