Binge Drinking and Unplanned Sexual Behaviour: Deconstructing the Role of Impulsivity

Author(s): Jane E. Scott, Julia M. Townshend, and Frances J. Hunt


The co-occurrence of binge drinking and unplanned sexual behaviour (USB) is a physiological and social concern; however, potential underlying mechanisms in this relationship remain largely unexplored. The current study compared low and high-binge drinkers on impulsivity variants and USB. Participants were 122 university students (71 females). Questionnaires measured binge drinking, USB, reward sensitivity, and trait impulsivity (Barratt Impulsiveness Scales). Cognitive-behavioural aspects of impulsivity were assessed using a Stop Signal Task (response inhibition) and an Information Sampling Task (IST: reflection-impulsivity). ANOVAs revealed that high-binge drinkers scored more impulsively than low-bingers on self-report impulsivity, and the decreasing win condition of the IST. A positive relationship was found between USB and self-report, but not cognitive-behavioural, impulsivity. In regression analysis, both binge drinking and trait impulsivity were found to have a unique effect on the proclivity to engage in USB. Findings provide an insight into demarcating impulsivity’s relationship with both binge drinking and USB.

image 10.4303/jdar/236067

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