The dimensional assessment of personality in pathologic and social gamblers: The role of novelty seeking and self-transcendence


Objective: A few personality traits are characteristic of pathologic gamblers (PGs), but it is not clear if and how their personality profile differs from that of non-pathologic gamblers (non-PGs). Methods: Sixty-five non-clinical subjects, differentiated into non-PGs and PGs with the means of the South Oak Gambling Screen (SOGS) and Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders–Fourth Edition–Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR) criteria, were administered with the Temperament and Character Inventory; their values were compared with those of control subjects (CS). Results: Novelty seeking (NS) and self-transcendence (ST) values were higher whereas self-directedness and cooperativeness values were lower in PGs with respect to both non-PGs and CS. A positive correlation was noted between SOGS score and NS (r = 0.40) and ST (r = 0.50) values, as well as a significant positive dependence between SOGS score and a family history of gambling (t = 2.816; P = .007). The subsamples of PGs reporting a parental involvement in gambling showed higher NS than the remaining PGs. Conclusions: Specific temperamental and character dimensions, especially NS and ST, differentiated PGs from both non-PGs and CS; the identification of a personality profile at risk for problem gambling may represent an important predictor of outcome and constitute a possible target for specific treatment approaches.

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