A Comparison of Self-Reported Impulsivity in Gambling Disorder and Bipolar Disorder

  • Mohammed K. ShakeelEmail author
  • David C. Hodgins
  • Vina M. Goghari
Original Paper


The present study investigated self-reported impulsivity in gambling disorder (GD) and bipolar disorder (BD). Participants with GD (n = 31), BD (n = 19), and community controls (n = 68) completed diagnostic interviews and symptom severity and functioning assessments. Participants also completed the UPPS-P Impulsive Behavior Scale composed of five dimensions including urgency (i.e., acting rashly under conditions of negative or positive emotion), lack of perseverance (i.e., inability to maintain focus), lack of premeditation (i.e., inability to consider negative consequences), and sensation seeking (i.e., tendency to pursue novel and exciting activities). Multivariate analysis of variance showed overall significant differences among the diagnostic groups on the UPPS-P subscales. Follow-up analyses of variance showed that the groups differed on all subscales except sensation seeking. The gambling and bipolar groups had significantly higher levels of self-reported impulsivity on all subscales when compared to controls. In addition, the BD group showed higher levels of positive urgency when compared to the GD group. Positive and negative urgency showed the strongest association with GD and BD. Impaired emotion regulation mechanisms may underlie self-reported impulsivity in both disorders. Lack of premeditation and perseverance may be related to dysfunctional cognitive processes.


Impulsivity Bipolar disorder Gambling disorder UPPS-P 



The current study was funded by the Gambling Family Study of Clinical and Cognitive Functioning (Alberta Gambling Research Institute Grant 68) and Cell Membrane Alterations in Bipolar Disorder: A Neuroimaging, Peripheral Lipid, and Cognitive Biomarkers Study (Hotchkiss Brain Institute/Pfizer Award). Dr. Goghari was funded by a Canadian Institutes of Health Research New Investigator Salary Award.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethics Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the University of Calgary Conjoint Faculties Research Ethics Board 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

  • Mohammed K. Shakeel
    • 1
    Email author
  • David C. Hodgins
    • 1
  • Vina M. Goghari
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of CalgaryCalgaryCanada
  2. 2.Departments of Psychology and PsychiatryUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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