Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Anne Ellison

Second Advisor

Jane Stafford

Third Advisor

Adam Pazda


Introduction: Emotional regulation is essential for evaluating a situation, giving meaning to an experience in order to achieve a desired goal. Impulsivity has been thought of as engaging in behaviors without thinking and prematurely responding to stimuli that generate negative consequences. It has been suggested that impulsive behaviors may be a result of maladaptive strategies when regulating emotions. Research has shown adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), impulsivity, and emotional dysregulation have a variety of problems, such as missing nonverbal cues, interrupting conversations, not thinking before talking, being impatient, being hot-tempered, and being easily emotionally excitable. The present study used psychological self-report measures to better understand the interaction(s) between ADHD symptomology, emotional self-regulation and impulsive behaviors. Method: Participants completed the two subscales of the Barkley Adult ADHD Rating Scale-IV (BAARS-IV), the Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale (DERS), and the Impulsive Behaviors Scale (UPPS-P). Following the three measures, participants were asked to provide demographic information regarding age, gender, and history of ADHD. Results: It was determined that higher levels of behavioral impulsivity were related to lower levels of hyperactivity, while higher levels of emotion dysregulation were related to lower levels of impulsivity. In addition, high levels of emotion dysregulation were related to high levels of both inattention and hyperactivity. Finally, results showed that hyperactivity mediated the relationship between impulsivity and difficulties in emotion regulation. Conclusion: Although there were not a sufficient number of students with a history of ADHD to make statistical comparisons with those students without a history, there is evidence that problems with low frustration tolerance, irritability, and rapid mood changes are present in individuals with a continuum of ADHD symptoms. Results suggest there may be a rather large number of college students with subthreshold ADHD symptoms and difficulties with emotional self-regulation and impulsivity.