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Studying Measurement Invariance and Differential Validity of the Short UPPS-P Impulsive Behavior Scale across Racial Groups

posted on 22.11.2021, 14:40 by Melissa Ann LiuMelissa Ann Liu

Previous research has identified impulsive personality traits as significant risk factors for a wide range of risk-taking behavior, substance use, and clinical problems. Most work has been conducted in primarily White samples, leaving it unclear whether these patterns generalize to racial and ethnic minorities, who have higher rates of negative consequences of substance use behavior. The most widely used assessment of impulsive traits is the UPPS-P Impulsive Behavior scale, which has strong psychometric properties across demographic subgroups, such as gender and age; however, data supporting its use in racial and ethnic minorities is less well-developed. The aims of this study are to 1) examine the measurement invariance of the UPPS-P Impulsive Behavior Scale-Short Form (Cyders et al., 2014) across racial minority groups and 2) determine if impulsive personality traits differentially relate to substance use outcomes across racial groups. Participants were 1301 young adults (ages 18-35, fluent in English), recruited through an online survey for both college students at a large public university and Mechanical Turk, a crowdsourcing online platform. Measurement invariance was assessed using multigroup confirmatory factor analysis. Differential validity was assessed using a structural equation modeling framework. I established model fit for each racial group (White group: RMSEA= .067, CFI= .94; Black group: RMSEA= .071, 90% CFI= .952; Asian American group: RMSEA= .073, CFI= .94; Hispanic group: RMSEA=.081, CFI=.934). Based on change in CFI/RMSEA indices, I concluded strong measurement invariance of the Short UPPS-P as a valid scale of impulsive behavior across racial groups. In the White group, findings indicated significant relationships between multiple SUPPS-P traits and alcohol and substance use. In the Asian American group, positive relationships were found between sensation and alcohol use (p=.015) and negative urgency and drug use (p=.020). I found that there were no differences in the relationships between the Short UPPS-P traits and substance use outcomes across White and the racial and ethnic groups studied (p’s>.06).


Degree Type

Master of Science


Psychological Sciences

Campus location


Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Melissa Cyders

Additional Committee Member 2

Wei Wu

Additional Committee Member 3

Tamika Zapolski

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