Abstract

Objective: Impulsivity, including poor regulated self-learning and careless problem solving skills has been demonstrated to result in lower academic achievement among college students. Although the relationship between greater impulsivity/executive dysfunction and poorer academic achievement is well established in the literature, little is known about the relationship between specific subcomponents of impulsivity and academic performance. We aimed to investigate the relationship between impulsivity (attentional, motor, and non-planning) and academic performance in a healthy undergraduate population. Method: A total of 84 healthy undergraduate college students (59.5% women; M = 20.40 years, SD = 2.82) were administered the Barratt Impulsiveness Scale (BIS) and were asked to report their current undergraduate grade point average (GPA). Executive function was measured via the Trail Making Test (Trails A and B). Results: Results of a bivariate correlation indicated no significant correlation between current term GPA and the Trail Making Test. Likewise, GPA was unrelated to overall, motor and planning impulsivity subscales of the BIS. However, there was a significant moderate negative correlation between attentional impulsivity on the BIS and GPA (r = −.24, p = .03). Conclusion(s): These findings suggest that self-reported poor attention was a better indicator of academic success than planning or motor impulsivity or performance on Trails A and B. Neuropsychological testing may aim to incorporate specific measures of impulsivity in addition to executive functioning tests when evaluating for the presence of attentional disorders, especially among college students.