Journal of Gambling Studies

, Volume 34, Issue 4, pp 1341–1354 | Cite as

Impulsivity and Gambling Type Among Treatment-Seeking Disordered Gamblers: An Explorative Study

  • Vittorio LutriEmail author
  • Emiliano Soldini
  • Silvia Ronzitti
  • Neil Smith
  • Massimo Clerici
  • Alex Blaszczynski
  • Henrietta Bowden-Jones
Original Paper


Several studies have found that certain traits of impulsivity are associated with gambling disorder, and influence its severity. Furthermore, it has been suggested that some forms of gambling, particularly electronic gambling machines, are particularly widespread among pathological gamblers. In the present, exploratory study, we aim to clarify the role played by impulsivity in influencing the choice of specific gambling activities, by examining the relation between individual dimensions of impulsivity, and the choice of specific gambling activities in a clinical population. 100 consecutively admitted pathological gamblers at the National Problem Gambling Clinic in London (UK) in 2014 were administered the UPPS-P and BIS-11 impulsivity questionnaires, the Problem Gambling Severity Index, and underwent a structured interview concerning their gambling activities in the month and year prior to assessment. The correlation between individual gambling activities and impulsivity dimensions was analyzed both at a bivariate level, and using logistic regression. We found a significant correlation between Negative Urgency, Motor impulsivity and low-stakes machine gambling on multivariate analysis. Negative urgency (i.e. the tendency to act impulsively in response to negative affect), and Motor impulsivity (a tendency to rash action and restlessness) might be mediating factors in the choice of electronic gambling machines, particularly among patients whose gambling is escape-oriented. Structural and situational characteristics of gambling machines, particularly the widespread availability of low-stakes—rather than high-stakes—gaming machines, might concur to the choice of this form of gambling among individuals who present higher negative urgency and restlessness.


Gambling disorder Pathological gambling Problem gambling Impulsivity Negative urgency Motor impulsivity UPPS-P Barrat impulsivity scale BIS-11 Gambling type Gambling activities Type of gambling Gambling machines Electronic gambling 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflict of interest to declare.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Medicine and SurgeryUniversità degli Studi di Milano – BicoccaMilanItaly
  2. 2.Methodology and Statistics Laboratory, Department of Business Economics, Health and Social CareUniversity of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern SwitzerlandMannoSwitzerland
  3. 3.National Problem Gambling ClinicCentral North West London NHS Foundation TrustLondonUK
  4. 4.School of PsychiatryUniversity of New South WalesSydneyAustralia

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