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J Nerv Ment Dis. 1993 Feb;181(2):107-12.

Neuropsychological assessment of attention problems in pathological gamblers.

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  • 1Brecksville V.A. Medical Center, Ohio 44141.


Deficits in executive, frontally mediated attention processes have been observed in substance abusers. A significant rate of childhood histories of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder has also been reported in this population, creating the question of whether attention problems predated addiction or were secondary to neurological drug or alcohol effects in pathological gamblers. To address this issue, the current study compared 33 non-substance-abusing pathological gamblers with 33 nonaddicted controls on nine attention measures and childhood behavior questionnaires. Gamblers performed significantly worse than controls on higher order attention measures and reported more childhood behaviors consistent with attention deficits. Results suggest attention deficits may be a risk factor for development of addictive disorders.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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