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Table 3 The UPPS-P model specific interventions and current empirical supports for treatment-related changes in impulsivity

From: Recommendations for applying a multi-dimensional model of impulsive personality to diagnosis and treatment

Trait Proposed intervention in Zapolski et al. [110] Empirical findings Sample Interventions used Change in impulsivity pre to post treatment
Negative urgency Emotion regulation, distress tolerance, interpersonal effectiveness Axelrod, Perepletchikova, Holtzman, & Sinha [84]a Female outpatients with BPD & substance dependence DBT
Weiss et al. [124] Female college students Emotion modulation
Zapolski & Smith [125] Middle school youth experiencing behavioral or academic problems DBT skills group
Adjust emotional reactions by considering the context, experience the emotion without acting, adjust reactions through relaxation, prayer, and other soothing activities, learn to effectively communicate feelings to others Amaro et al. [126]a Female Hispanic inpatients with drug addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders Spiritual Self-Schema (Mindfulness & harm reduction)
Margolin et al. [127]a Drug users with HIV enrolled in a methadone maintenance program Spiritual Self-Schema (Mindfulness & harm reduction)
Littlefield et al. [128] Inpatients from a residential substance use disorder treatment facility 12-step group, CBT, DBT, MI
Reis, Castro, Faria, & Laranjeira [129]a Male outpatients with cocaine dependence Assertive strategic counseling & topiramate
Blonigen, Timko, Moos, & Moos [130]a Treatment-naïve individuals with alcohol use disorders AA
SSRIs Rinne, van den Brink, Wouters, & van Dyck [131]a Females with BPD Fluvoxamine
Identify precipitating events or triggers to emotional reactivity and learn adaptive alternatives similar to those provided in distress tolerance modules Santos-Ruiz, Robles-Ortega, Pérez-García, & Peralta-Ramírez [139] Individuals with perceived high stress levels CBT for stress management
Learn to evaluate behavioral choices in terms of one’s long-term goals X    
Positive urgency Teach adaptive techniques for savoring success and positive mood X    
Identify alternative, safer means of celebrating X    
Learn to use cues indicating risk for maladaptive behavior X    
Provide client with reminders or cues of the alternative behaviors identified X    
Sensation seeking Highly stimulating media messages suggesting alternative, safe ways to pursue stimulation X    
Development of a bank of safe, stimulating activities as behavioral options X    
Lack of Premeditation Cognitive mediation training (anticipating both positive and negative consequences of possible actions) Weiss et al. [124] Female college students Impulsivity reduction
Specifying all steps necessary to complete a task and the time necessary for each step Kendall & Finch [132]a Children identified as impulsive Verbal self-instructions & response-cost contingency
Kendall & Wilcox [133]a Children with classroom interference behaviors Verbal self-instructions, response-cost contingency & psychoeducation
Learn to anticipate the consequences of one’s presence in situations and settings Amaro et al. [126]a Female Hispanic inpatients with drug addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders Spiritual Self-Schema (Mindfulness & harm reduction)
Margolin et al. [127]a Drug users with HIV enrolled in a methadone maintenance program Spiritual Self-Schema (Mindfulness & harm reduction)
Aklin, Tull, Kahler, & Lejuez [134]a Inpatients admitted to residential substance use treatment facility AA/NA, relapse prevention & functional analysis
Gonçalves et al. [135]a Inpatients enrolled in cocaine dependence treatment Motivational Chess
Lack of perseverance Stimulant medications plus cognitive-behavioral therapy X    
Behavioral paradigms to reinforce task completion X    
Learn to gauge attention span and distractibility delay, modify environment, learn techniques to reduce procrastination and increase follow-through X    
  1. Notes. BPD Borderline personality disorder, DBT Dialectical behavior therapy, AA/NA Alcoholics Anonymous/Narcotics Anonymous
  2. ↓ Statistically significant decreases in impulsivity pre to post treatment
  3. – Non-significant change in impulsivity pre to post treatment
  4. X = No empirical support available to the authors’ knowledge
  5. a indicates studies did not use UPPS-P Impulsive Behavior Scale