Journal of Gambling Studies

, Volume 26, Issue 3, pp 331–346 | Cite as

The Relationship Between Pathological Gambling and Sensation Seeking: The Role of Subscale Scores

  • Erica E. Fortune
  • Adam S. GoodieEmail author
Original Paper


Research investigating the relationship between gambling and sensation seeking has yet to establish conclusively whether pathological gamblers (PGs) are more or less sensation seeking than nonpathological gamblers (NPGs). Sensation seeking is usually measured with the Zuckerman et al. (J Consult Clin Psychol 46:139–149, 1978) SS Scale form V (SSS-V). Whereas previous studies relied on the SSS-V total score, the current study uses two samples to demonstrate the importance of the SSS-V subscales, which include Thrill and Adventure Seeking (TA), Experience Seeking (ES), Disinhibition (DS), and Boredom Susceptibility (BS). In two samples, strong intrascale correlations between DS and BS, and between TA and ES, suggest that certain subscales reflect similar underlying characteristics. In both samples PGs displayed higher scores than NPGs on the DS and BS subscales, with mean differences in Sample 2 reaching significant levels for both DS and BS. Results support the notion that the SSS-V can be divided into concepts reflecting actual behavior, based on the DS and BS subscales, and hypothetical behavior, based on the TA and ES subscales. Furthermore, PGs appear to have a preference for the more behavioral subscales while NPGs show a preference for the more hypothetical subscales. Reasons for the subscale divisions and preferences are discussed.


Gambling Pathological gambling Sensation seeking Subscale Meta-analysis 



This research was supported by National Institutes of Health research grant MH067827, and by grants from the Ontario Problem Gambling Research Centre and the Institute for Research on Gambling Disorders to ASG.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of GeorgiaAthensUSA

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