A short version of the UPPS-P-C (urgency-premeditation-perseverance-sensation seeking-positive urgency) Impulsive Behaviors Scale is a promising tool to screen for impulsivity both in children with typical development and in those with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and strengthens the evidence supporting a link between positive and negative urgency, lack of premeditation, and ADHD symptomatology, according to the results of a study published in the Journal of Attention Disorders.

Impulsivity plays a role in the development and maintenance of a number of behavioral and psychological disorders in children. The UPPS Impulsive Behaviors Scale was created to evaluate the different facets of impulsivity in adults and to measure 4 dimensions: negative urgency (tendency to act rashly when involved in intense negative emotional contexts), lack of premeditation, lack of perseverance, and sensation seeking. Recently a fifth dimension was added — positive urgency (the tendency to act rashly in intense positive emotional contexts).

Marie Geurten, PhD, of the Psychology and Neuroscience of Cognition Unit at the University of Liège in Belgium, and colleagues adapted the short French adult version of the UPPS Impulsive Scale for use in children (short UPPS-P-C). They used confirmatory factor analyses (CFA) to test its psychometric properties on 425 typically developing children between the ages of 8 and 14 years and 31 children who were examined for attention disorders and were diagnosed with ADHD.

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The investigators used item analysis to examine the psychometric properties of the short UPPS-P-C and then CFA to evaluate the factor structure of the questionnaire. CFA determined that a model identifying 5 interrelated impulsivity constructs was most appropriate for evaluating impulsivity in children. This confirms that the 5 dimensions of impulsivity established in adults are also relevant in children.

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The authors contend that the short UPPS-P-C “is characterized by a robust, theoretically driven, and developmentally stable factor structure.” Furthermore, it is a valid instrument to discriminate the 3 subscales of lack of premeditation and positive and negative urgency. These 3 facets of impulsivity also form a promising instrument to distinguish typically developing children from those with ADHD, which was one of the goals of the study.

The authors concluded that these findings offer preliminary evidence of the validity of the short UPPS-P-C to screen for impulsivity traits in both typically developing children and in those with ADHD.


Geurten M, Catale C, Gay P, Deplus S, Billieux J. Measuring impulsivity in children: adaptation and validation of a short version of the UPPS-P Impulsive Behaviors Scale in children and investigation of its links with ADHD [published online May 17, 2018]. J Atten Disord. doi:10.1177/1087054718775831