Multidimensional examination of impulsivity in relation to disordered gambling

Abstract

Impulsivity has been consistently associated with pathological gambling (PG), but the diversity of definitions and measures of impulsivity has led to ambiguity with regard to which indices are independently relevant. Toward clarifying this relationship, the current study examined indices from an array of commonly used impulsivity measures in relation to PG severity in an adult community sample of frequent gamblers (N = 353). These included both survey assessments and behavioral tasks. Using a factor analytic approach, 4 latent factors were identified among 19 indices and were designated reward sensitivity, punishment sensitivity, delay discounting, and cognitive impulsivity. All 4 latent variables were positively and independently related to PG severity, albeit at a trend level for cognitive impulsivity in a combined model. These findings reveal 4 generally independent domains of impulsivity that are related to PG severity, clarify which assessment measures aggregate in each domain, and illustrate the importance of measurement specificity in studying impulsivity in relation to PG and other psychiatric disorders

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