Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Jonathan Rottenberg, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Fallon Goodman, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Marc Karver, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Brent Small, Ph.D.


affect, ambulatory assessment, deliberate self-harm, disordered eating, impulsivity


Extensive research has demonstrated associations between impulsivity and maladaptive behaviors such as nonsuicidal self-injury and binge eating. Little attention has been paid to the planning that may occur prior to engagement in these behaviors, or to the role the planning might play in allowing individuals to regulate their emotions when they are not immediately able to engage in their chosen behaviors. Including another behavior that is typically considered to be non-impulsive (i.e., physical exercise) as a comparison, we sought to test the hypothesis that planning may serve an affect regulatory role for individuals who engage in so-called “impulsive” behaviors. We also sought to compare trait measures of impulsivity to indices of planning and impulsive behavior engagement. In a sample of undergraduate students, we conducted a two-phase study that included a baseline self-report measure and one week of repeated assessments (EMA) sent to participants’ cellphones inquiring about planning, behavior, and negative and positive affect. Results supported the hypothesis that planning exists in the context of these behaviors, and that it may reduce negative affect in cases of self-harm and binge-eating, and increase positive affect in the case of physical activity. Implications and directions for future investigations are discussed.