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  1. Gregory T. Smith,
  2. Tamika C. B. Zapolski,
  3. Jessica L. Combs,
  4. Regan E. Friend

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0436

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Smith, G. T., Zapolski, T. C. B., Combs, J. L. and Friend, R. E. 2010. Impulsivity. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–2.

Author Information

  1. University of Kentucky

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


The concept of impulsivity has played an important role in psychology. It is included in virtually every theoretical system of human personality. In the field of clinical psychology, it is understood to contribute to many different forms of psychopathology (Whiteside & Lynam, 2001). It is part of borderline personality disorder (a disorder characterized by emotional lability and ill-considered, self-harming acts); antisocial personality disorder (characterized by rash, ill-thought out acts that often harm others); attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (characterized by difficulty waiting one's turn and persevering on tasks); bulimia nervosa (characterized by binge eating and subsequent purging); alcohol and drug-use disorders; and a whole set of impulse-control disorders, such as kleptomania, pyromania, and intermittent explosive disorder. For many of these forms of psychopathology, impulsivity is understood to contribute to their emergence.


  • personality;
  • sensation;
  • emotion;
  • dysfunction;
  • conscientiousness