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. 2009 Nov 1;105(1-2):89-96.
doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2009.06.011. Epub 2009 Jul 16.

Behavioral Assessment of Impulsivity in Pathological Gamblers With and Without Substance Use Disorder Histories Versus Healthy Controls

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Free PMC article

Behavioral Assessment of Impulsivity in Pathological Gamblers With and Without Substance Use Disorder Histories Versus Healthy Controls

David M Ledgerwood et al. Drug Alcohol Depend. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

Pathological gamblers (PGs) may have high levels of impulsivity, and a correlation between substance use disorders (SUDs) and impulsivity is well established. However, only a handful of studies have attempted to assess impulsivity and other impulse-spectrum traits (e.g., sensation seeking) using a variety of behavioral and self-report measures in PGs and few examined the independent impact of SUDs. We compared 30 PGs without SUD histories, 31 PGs with SUD histories and 40 control participants on self-reported impulsivity, delayed discounting, attention/memory, response inhibition, risk taking, sensation seeking and distress tolerance measures. PGs, regardless of SUD history, discounted delayed rewards at greater rates than controls. PGs also reported acting on the spur of the moment, experienced trouble planning and thinking carefully, and noted greater attention difficulties than controls. PGs with SUD took greater risks on a risk-taking task than did PGs without SUD histories, but the two groups did not differ on any other measures of impulsivity. We conclude that PGs are more impulsive than non-problem gamblers in fairly specific ways, but PGs with and without SUD histories differ on few measures. More research should focus on specific ways in which PGs exhibit impulsivity to better address impulsive behaviors in treatment.

Conflict of interest statement

Conflict of Interest

None

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
Flow of participants through the study.
Figure 2
Figure 2
Delay discounting subjective dollar amounts and delay periods for pathological gamblers (PGs) with and without a history of substance use disorder (SUD), and control participants.
Figure 3
Figure 3
Median percent response inhibition at four latency periods for pathological gamblers (PGs) with and without a history of substance use disorder (SUD), and control participants.

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