Self-reported differences on measures of executive function in a patient sample of pathological gamblers

Int J Neurosci. 2012 Sep;122(9):500-5. doi: 10.3109/00207454.2012.673516. Epub 2012 Jun 18.


Patients seeking help for pathological gambling often exhibit features of impulsivity, cognitive rigidity, poor judgment, deficits in emotion regulation, and excessive preoccupation with gambling. Some of these characteristics are also common among patients presenting with neurological pathology associated with executive deficits. Evidence of executive deficits have been confirmed in pathological gamblers using objective neurocognitive tests, however, it remains to be seen if such findings will emerge in self-report measures of executive control. These observations led to the current investigation of differences between a group of pathological gamblers (n = 62) and a comparison group (n = 64) using the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function-Adult Version (BRIEF-A). Significant differences between the groups emerged over all nine subscales of executive functioning with the most dramatic differences on BRIEF-A subscales Inhibit, Plan/Organize, Shift, Emotion Control, Self-Monitor, and Initiate among the pathological gamblers. These results provide evidence that support findings among pathological gamblers using objective neuropsychological measures and suggest that the BRIEF-A may be an appropriate instrument to assess possible problems with executive control in this population.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology*
  • Executive Function / physiology*
  • Female
  • Gambling / complications*
  • Gambling / diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Self Report*
  • Young Adult