Risk gambling and personality: Results from a representative Swedish sample

Abstract

The association between personality and gambling has been explored previously. However, few studies are based on representative populations. This study aimed at examining the association between risk gambling and personality in a representative Swedish population. A random Swedish sample (N = 19,530) was screened for risk gambling using the Lie/Bet questionnaire. The study sample (N = 257) consisted of those screening positive on Lie/Bet and completing a postal questionnaire about gambling and personality (measured with the NODS-PERC and the HP5i respectively). Risk gambling was positively correlated with Negative Affectivity (a facet of Neuroticism) and Impulsivity (an inversely related facet of Conscientiousness), but all associations were weak. When taking age and gender into account, there were no differences in personality across game preference groups, though preferred game correlated with level of risk gambling. Risk gamblers scored lower than the population norm data with respect to Negative Affectivity, but risk gambling men scored higher on Impulsivity. The association between risk gambling and personality found in previous studies was corroborated in this study using a representative sample. We conclude that risk and problem gamblers should not be treated as a homogeneous group, and prevention and treatment interventions should be adapted according to differences in personality, preferred type of game and the risk potential of the games.

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