Negative Affect is a construct reflecting the tendency to experience emotions that are not only unpleasant but also upsetting. Negative Urgency, a facet of impulsive behavior reflecting emotionally driven rash action, is often seen in response to these negative emotions. However, in regards to what causes negative emotions to lead to rash action, relations between Negative Affect and Negative Urgency have yet to be fully understood. Past research has examined constructs reflecting maladaptive responses to negative emotions (anxiety sensitivity [AS], distress intolerance [DI], and emotional regulation [ER] difficulties) as potential mediators of the relationship, although, it is unclear which of those constructs is most important to this association. Thus, in this study, we examined which of the three constructs is the strongest mediator of the association between negative affect and negative urgency. Using a sample of 501 college students (109 males, 352 females; ages 18-34, mean=19.43, SD = 4.23), we ran a triple mediation model with AS, DI, and ER mediating the association between negative affect and urgency We observed a significant direct effect between negative affect and negative urgency and found that, when examining the strength of the mediators conjointly, only AS mediated this relationship. In all, our results suggest that AS may be the mechanism through negative affect leads to impulsive behavior. Implications and limitations are discussed.
Previous research indicates that a low tolerance for negative emotions may lead to increased rash action. In this study, we examine whether the specific ways in which an individual responds to their emotions mediates the association between negative affect (NA) and rash action. Using a sample of 501 college students, we examined a model with anxiety sensitivity, distress intolerance, and emotion regulation difficulties as mediators between NA and rash action. Only anxiety sensitivity was found to significantly mediate this association, suggesting that increased sensitivity to anxiety sensations may explain the association between NA and rash action.