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Addiction. 1997 Jan;92(1):75-87.

Impulsivity in pathological gambling: the antisocial impulsivist.

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  • 1School of Psychiatry, University of New South Wales, Australia.


The construct of impulsivity has to date remained relatively unexplored in the pathological gambling literature. This is in spite of recent claims suggesting that impulsivity may be an important feature characterizing a subgroup of pathological gamblers who are claimed to suffer from a Multi-Impulse Personality Disorder. The present study examined the potential role of impulsivity using the Eysenck Impulsivity Scale among 115 pathological gamblers. Results indicate that heightened impulsivity is associated with the degree of severity of psychological and behavioural change in pathological gamblers. However, the findings also indicate that impulsivity closely mirrors components contained in Eysenck Personality Questionnaire Psychoticism Scale, the California Personality Inventory Socialization Scale and DSM-III Antisocial Personality Disorder. This is manifest both in terms of high intercorrelations between the measures of psychopathy and impulsivity and in their predictive relationship to the level of psychological distress suggesting a uniform impulsivity/psychopathy construct. Thus, the research supports a model of pathological gambling in which the severity of associated behavioural and psychological disturbance is mediated by a impulsivity/ psychopathy construct.

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