Impulsivity and self-esteem in pathological gambling: What is the link?


In empirical literature, impulsivity is identified as a core feature of gambling addiction. Furthermore, pathological gamblers are prone to have a poor self-esteem. Previous researches studied the link between impulsivity and self-esteem bringing contrasting results. However, relationships between such constructs among pathological gamblers have not been investigated.

We sought to explore the associations among pathological gambling, self-esteem and different facets of impulsivity comparing a clinical sample of pathological gamblers with community participants.

To highlight patterns of associations between self-esteem and impulsiveness in pathological gambling.

A sample of pathological gamblers and a sample of healthy men, were administered the South Oaks Gambling Screen (SOGS), the UPPS Impulsive Behavior Scale (UPPS) and the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSES).

As expected, levels of impulsivity were significantly higher in the clinical sample while levels of self-esteem were significantly lower. A significant and negative correlation between impulsivity and self-esteem was found among pathological gamblers. Different patterns of associations were found between self-esteem and dimensions of impulsivity.

Coherently with others results, our study confirmed that pathological gamblers showed high impulsivity and low self-esteem. The peculiars patterns of associations between impulsivity and self-esteem could be informative to tailor treatment programs for pathological gamblers.

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