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Impulsigenic traits and midlife cardiometabolic risk: The mediating role of maladaptive health behaviors

Emery, Rebecca L. (2019) Impulsigenic traits and midlife cardiometabolic risk: The mediating role of maladaptive health behaviors. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Although impulsivity predisposes individuals to engage in maladaptive health behaviors that confer risk for cardiometabolic diseases, limited research has evaluated behavioral pathways through which distinct impulsigenic traits promote cardiometabolic risk. The present study aimed to provide a fuller understanding of the distinct impulsigenic traits most strongly related to cardiometabolic risk and to identify specific behavioral mechanisms driving these relationships. Community adults (N = 1295) between the ages of 30 and 54 years (53% female, 84% Caucasian) completed a battery of impulsivity measures, reported their engagement in health behaviors over the past week (i.e., cigarette smoking, alcohol use, physical activity, energy intake, and dietary composition), and were assessed for measures of cardiometabolic risk (i.e., adiposity, blood pressure, insulin resistance, and dyslipidemia). Structural equation modeling was used to estimate previously established hierarchical models of distinct impulsigenic traits and cardiometabolic risk. Indirect effects through the observed health behaviors were then examined for each association between the seven latent impulsigenic traits identified and the latent cardiometabolic risk factor. Results indicated that Neuroticism/Negative Emotionality was the only latent impulsigenic trait directly related to heightened cardiometabolic risk (β = 0.09, 95% CI [0.01, 0.16], p = 0.02). In addition, Extraversion/Positive Emotionality indirectly related to reduced cardiometabolic risk through greater physical activity (β = -0.04, 95% CI [-0.06, -0.02], p < 0.01), and both Inhibition (β = 0.02, 95% CI [0.001, 0.04], p = 0.05) and Impulsive Decision-Making (β = 0.08, 95% CI [0.001, 0.15], p = 0.05) indirectly related to cardiometabolic risk through saturated fat intake, but in opposing directions. Specifically, individuals low on Inhibition were at reduced cardiometabolic risk as a consequence of less saturated fat intake whereas individuals high on Impulsive Decision-Making were at heightened cardiometabolic risk as a consequence of greater saturated fat intake. These findings indicate that distinct impulsigenic traits differentially relate to cardiometabolic risk through varied behavioral pathways and ultimately serve to clarify both who is at cardiometabolic risk and how those individuals are at risk.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Emery, Rebecca L.rle21@pitt.edurle21
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairLevine, Michele
Committee MemberCreswell, Kasey
Committee MemberManuck, Stephen
Committee MemberMarsland, Anna
Committee MemberMatthews, Karen
Committee MemberWright, Aidan G.
Date: 27 September 2019
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 9 July 2018
Approval Date: 27 September 2019
Submission Date: 10 July 2018
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 141
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Psychology
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Impulsivity; metabolic syndrome; structural equation modeling
Date Deposited: 27 Sep 2019 14:52
Last Modified: 27 Sep 2019 14:52


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