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J Abnorm Psychol. 2001 Aug;110(3):482-7.

Pathological gamblers, with and without substance use disorders, discount delayed rewards at high rates.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Farmington 06030-3944, USA.


Pathological gambling is classified as a disorder of impulse control, yet little research has evaluated behavioral indices of impulsivity in gamblers. The rates at which rewards delayed in time are subjectively devalued may be a behavioral marker of impulsivity. This study evaluated delay discounting in 60 pathological gamblers and 26 control participants. Gamblers were divided into those with (n = 21) and without (n = 39) substance use disorders. A hypothetical $1,000 reward was delayed at intervals ranging from 6 hr to 25 years, and immediate rewards varied from $1 to $999. Pathological gamblers discounted delayed rewards at higher rates than control participants, and gamblers with substance use disorders discounted delayed rewards at higher rates than non-substance-abusing gamblers. These data provide further evidence that rapid discounting of delayed rewards may be a feature central to impulse control and addictive disorders, including pathological gambling.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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