Emotion-related impulsivity and risky decision-making: A systematic review and meta-regression

Matthew V. Elliott, Sheri L. Johnson, Jennifer G. Pearlstein, Daniela E. Muñoz Lopez, Hanna Keren

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Emotion-related impulsivity, the trait-like tendency toward regrettable behavior during states of high emotion, is a robust predictor of internalizing and externalizing psychopathology. Despite substantial evidence that emotion-related impulsivity is important transdiagnostically, relatively little is known about its cognitive correlates. This systematic review and meta-regression investigates one such candidate, risky decision-making. We analyzed 195 effect sizes from 51 studies of 14,957 total participants, including 105 newly calculated effect sizes that were not reported in the original publications. The meta-regression demonstrated evidence for a small, positive relationship of emotion-related impulsivity with behavioral indices of risky decision-making (ß = 0.086). Effects generalized across sample age, gender, Positive versus Negative Urgency, and clinical versus nonclinical samples. The average effect size varied by task type, with stronger effects for the Iowa Gambling Task and Delay Discounting Task. Experimental arousal manipulation was nearly a significant moderator, with stress and pharmacological manipulations yielding significant effect sizes. Analyses indicated that publication bias did not skew the current findings. Notwithstanding limitations, the data suggest that risky decision-making is a cognitive domain that relates to emotion-related impulsivity. We conclude with recommendations regarding the specific types of tasks and arousal inductions that will best capture emotion-related impulsivity in future experimental research.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102232
JournalClinical Psychology Review
StatePublished - Mar 2023


  • Emotion
  • Impulsivity
  • Meta-regression
  • Risky decision-making
  • Urgency


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