Background: Various authors have described the elements of impulsive approach and
inhibitory control in drug users. These two components have been studied in terms of
personality traits, performance on tasks that measure impulsive behavior, and
neurophysiology. However, few studies have analyzed the association between these
constructs. Thus, the aim of the present study is to analyze the associations between
personality traits and performance on impulsivity tasks.
Methods: A follow-up study was conducted with a baseline assessment at the beginning
and end of treatment. The sample was composed of 121 patients undergoing treatment in
therapeutic communities. Personality domains were evaluated through the PID-5. The
impulsivity tasks employed were the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT), Delay Discounting Test
(DDT), Go/No-Go and Stroop test.
Results: A correlation was found between DDT scores and the domains of detachment
(r = -.315; p<.01), antagonism (r = -.294; p<.01), and disinhibition (r = .215; p<.05).
Performance on the Stroop task was significantly associated with psychoticism (r = .232;
p<.05) and negative affect (r = .212; p<.05). Multivariate analysis revealed that IGT scores
and negative affect predict retention in treatment.
Conclusions: These findings partially support the hypothesized association between
sensation-seeking personality traits and detachment with impulsive choice tasks; and the
relationships between negative affect and psychoticism traits with performance on
inhibitory control tasks. Further, impulsive choice task scores and negative affect are
both shown to predict retention in treatment.