Impulsivity predicts poorer improvement in quality of life during early treatment for people with methamphetamine dependence

Adam J. Rubenis, Rebecca E. Fitzpatrick, Dan I. Lubman, Antonio Verdejo-Garcia

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32 Citations (Scopus)


Background and aims: Methamphetamine dependence is associated with heightened impulsivity and diminished quality of life, but the link between impulsivity and changes in quality of life during treatment has not been examined. We aimed to investigate how different elements of impulsivity predict change in quality of life in the 6 weeks after engaging in treatment. Design: Longitudinal, observational cohort study. Setting: Public and private detoxification and rehabilitation facilities in metropolitan Melbourne, Australia. Participants: One hundred and eight individuals with methamphetamine dependence (81 male) tested within 3 weeks of commencing treatment; 80 (74%) were followed-up at 6 weeks. Measurements: The Continuous Performance Test-2 measured impulsive action (cognitive and motor impulsivity); the Delay Discounting Task measured impulsive choice. Quality of life was measured with the World Health Organization Quality of Life Scale—Brief, which includes social, psychological, physical and environment domains. Control variables included age, gender, estimated IQ, depression severity score, methamphetamine dependence severity score, cannabis dependence severity score and treatment modality. Findings: We found that all three forms of impulsivity were significant predictors of change in the social domain: motor impulsivity (β = −0.54, P = 0.013), cognitive impulsivity (β = −0.46, P = 0.029) and impulsive choice (β = −0.26, P = 0.019). Change in the psychological domain was predicted significantly by motor impulsivity (β = −0.45, P = 0.046). Control variables of age and depression were associated significantly with changes in the physical domain. Conclusions: In Australian methamphetamine-dependent individuals, elevated impulsivity predicts lower improvement of social and psychological quality of life in the first 6–9 weeks of treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)668-676
Number of pages9
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018


  • Cognitive tests
  • impulsive action
  • impulsive choice
  • impulsivity
  • methamphetamine dependence
  • quality of life

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