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A Multi-Method Investigation of Normative and Pathological Personality Across the Spectrum of Gambling Involvement

Abstract

Pathological Gambling (PG) has been linked to both specific personality traits and personality disorders (PDs). However, previous studies have used a wide variety of research designs that preclude clear conclusions about the personality features that distinguish adults with PG from other groups. The current investigation seeks to advance this research by using a sample including adults who do not gamble, who gamble socially, and who exhibit PG, using self-report, informant-report, and interview-rated measures of personality traits and disorders. A total of 245 adults completed measures of gambling behaviour and problems, as well as normative and pathological personality over two assessment visits. A multivariate ANCOVA was conducted to investigate differences between groups. Analyses supported numerous group differences including differences between all groups on the Neuroticism facet of Impulsivity, and between non-gambling/socially gambling and PG groups on the Conscientiousness facet of Self-Discipline. Adults with PG exhibited more symptoms of Borderline, Paranoid, Schizotypal, Avoidant, and Dependent PDs than adults who gamble socially or not at all. The current investigation provides a comprehensive survey of personality across a wide range of gambling involvement, using a multi-method approach. Our findings help to clarify the most pertinent personality risk factors for PG.

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Funding

This study was funded by a Ontario Problem Gambling Research Centre (OPGRC) Level IV grant (#2662). OPGRC approved the research proposal, including objectives and methodology, but had no involvement in the design, conduct, analysis, or write-up.

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Correspondence to Lena C. Quilty.

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Dr. Quilty has received research funding from the Ontario Lottery and Gaming. All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research committee (CAMH Research Ethics Board, REB14-1623) and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Quilty, L.C., Otis, E., Haefner, S.A. et al. A Multi-Method Investigation of Normative and Pathological Personality Across the Spectrum of Gambling Involvement. J Gambl Stud 38, 205–223 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10899-021-10011-8

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10899-021-10011-8

Keywords

  • Pathological gambling
  • Personality
  • Personality disorders
  • Impulsivity