Impulsivity, implicit attitudes and explicit cognitions, and alcohol dependence as predictors of pathological gambling

Abstract

Impulsivity, implicit attitudes and explicit cognitions regarding gambling, and alcohol abuse have been pointed out by past research as significant contributors to the development and maintenance of gambling disorders. In this study, we tested the relationship among these contributors and pathological gambling. Forty-four pathological gamblers (DSM-5 criteria), of whom 23 were active gamblers and 17 were alcohol dependent, were compared with 100 controls, consisting of patients with a lifetime history of alcohol use disorder in remission for at least 2 years. The following protocol was used for the comparison: National Opinion Research Center Diagnostic Screen for Gambling Disorders, Barratt Impulsiveness Scale Version 11 (BIS-11), Gambling Related Cognitions Scale (GRCS), Obsessive Compulsive Drinking Scale, Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test, and Gambling Implicit Association Test (IAT). Impulsivity (BIS-11) and changes in implicit attitudes (IAT) were able to discriminate between pathological gamblers and controls, the latter being less impulsive and having fewer implicit attitudes towards gambling. Cognitive impulsivity (BIS-11), explicit gambling cognitions (GRCS), and alcohol dependence were able to discriminate between active and non-active pathological gamblers, the latter having less cognitive impulsivity and less explicit gambling cognitions and alcohol dependence. Using these simple tools can help clinicians in the assessment of pathological gambling.

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