Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 46, Issue 6, pp 1203–1215 | Cite as

The Intergenerational Association Between Parents’ Problem Gambling and Impulsivity-Hyperactivity/Inattention Behaviors in Children

  • Rene CarbonneauEmail author
  • Frank Vitaro
  • Mara Brendgen
  • Richard E. Tremblay


Despite the well-established association between problem gambling and ADHD core categories of impulsivity-hyperactivity and inattention, the link between parents’ problem gambling and impulsivity-hyperactivity/inattention (IH/I) behaviors in children has not been investigated. This study investigated the association between parents’ problem gambling and children’s IH/I behaviors while controlling for potential confounding variables. A population-based prospective cohort followed-up from kindergarten to age 30, the Quebec Longitudinal Study of Kindergarten Children (QLSKC), provided data over three generations. Among 1358 participants at age 30, parents with a child aged 1 year or older (N = 468; Mean age = 4.65 years; SD = 2.70) were selected. Generalized Linear Models included measures of grandparents’ and parents’ problem gambling, parents’ IH/I behaviors in childhood, and a host of risk factors and comorbidities to predict IH/I in children. Intergenerational bivariate associations were observed between grandparents’ problem gambling, parents’ IH/I in childhood and problem gambling at age 30, and between parents’ IH/I, problem gambling, and children’s IH/I behaviors. Parents’ problem gambling predicted children’s IH/I behaviors above and beyond the effects of covariates such as family and socioeconomic characteristics, alcohol and drug use, depression symptoms and parents’ gambling involvement. Parents’ IH/I behaviors in childhood also predicted children’s IH/I and had a moderating, enhancing effect on parents’ problem gambling association with their offspring’s IH/I behaviors. Problem gambling is a characteristic of parents’ mental health that is distinctively associated with children’s IH/I behaviors, above and beyond parents’ own history of IH/I and of typically related addictive, psychopathological or socioeconomic risk factors and comorbidities.


Problem Gambling Parents Children Impulsivity-hyperactivity Inattention Parental influence 



We thank the Quebec Government Ministry of Health, the Fond Quebecois de la Recherche sur la Societe et la Culture, Canada’s Social Science and Humanities Research Council, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research St-Justine Hospital’s Research Center, and the University of Montreal for financial support.

We thank the families and teachers of the Québec Longitudinal Study of Kindergarten Children (QLSKC) for their collaboration to this project, and the staff of the Research Unit on Children’s Psychosocial Maladjustment for data collection and management.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

Institutional Review Boards of the University of Montreal and Ste-Justine Hospital provided ethical approval. Therefore this study has been performed in accordance with the ethical standards laid down in the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments.

Informed Consent

Informed consent has been appropriately obtained from all participants included in the study (grandparents and parents for their own participation and for consent/permission for children’s participation).


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PediatricsUniversity of MontrealMontréalCanada
  2. 2.Sainte-Justine Hospital Research CenterMontréalCanada
  3. 3.Research Unit on Children’s Psychosocial MaladjustmentUniversity of MontrealMontréalCanada
  4. 4.School of PsychoeducationUniversity of MontrealMontréalCanada
  5. 5.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Quebec in MontrealMontréalCanada
  6. 6.Department of PsychologyUniversity of MontrealMontréalCanada
  7. 7.School of Public Health and Sport SciencesUniversity College DublinDublin 4Ireland

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