Theory suggests that behavioral undercontrol mediates the effect of parental substance disorder on offspring substance use, but no studies have tested multidimensional impulsive personality traits as mechanisms of risk. Adolescents (N = 392; 48% female) from a multigenerational study of familial alcohol disorder self-reported impulsive personality traits via the UPPS-P (Mage = 16.09; Range = 13–19) and alcohol/cannabis frequency one year later. The UPPS-P assesses negative and positive urgency (i.e., rash action in a negative or positive mood state), lack of premeditation (i.e., lack of planning/forethought), lack of perseverance (i.e., inability to finish tedious/boring tasks), and sensation seeking (i.e., thrill seeking/risk taking). Parent substance disorder was assessed via diagnostic interviews. Two-part hurdle models tested predictors of any substance use (i.e., binary part) and frequency of use (i.e., continuous part). Parent substance disorder was indirectly associated with any alcohol/cannabis use (binary part) and higher cannabis frequency (continuous part) through negative urgency. Parental substance disorder was associated with higher alcohol frequency through a lack of premeditation. Sensation seeking was associated with any alcohol/cannabis use but unrelated to parental substance disorder. Despite indirect effects, strong effects of parental substance disorder on substance use remained. The findings are discussed in terms of theory and public health implications.
- Family history
- Sensation seeking
- Substance use
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)