Try our beta test site
IMPORTANT: Listing of a study on this site does not reflect endorsement by the National Institutes of Health. Talk with a trusted healthcare professional before volunteering for a study. Read more...

Impulsivity in Pathological Gambling

This study has been completed.
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Timothy Fong MD, National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Identifier:
First received: December 20, 2007
Last updated: June 3, 2013
Last verified: June 2013

The purpose of the this study is to compare pathological gamblers versus non-pathological gamblers using tests that measure different components of impulsivity. We aim to invite a total of 120 individuals to participate in this study.

Impulsivity has been described as the cognitive inability to delay gratification, a failure to inhibit behavioral action or acting without forethought about consequences. Impulsivity has also been seen as a personality trait characterized by risk-taking or sensation seeking behavior. Pathological gamblers demonstrate aspects of impulsivity; they act without thinking, have difficult inhibiting urges to gamble and desire immediate gratification. The goal of this project is to clarify which components of impulsivity are associated with pathological gambling. Non-treatment seeking, pathological gamblers and controls will be recruited from the community and local casinos. Each participant will be administered a battery of tests that represent different operational definitions of impulsivity.

Pathological Gambling

Study Type: Observational
Study Design: Observational Model: Case Control
Time Perspective: Cross-Sectional
Official Title: Impulsivity in Pathological Gambling: A Cross Sectional Analysis on Tests of Impulsivity Between Pathological Gamblers and a Non-pathological Control Group.

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by Timothy Fong MD, National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA):

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Barratt Impusivity Scale [ Time Frame: 12 months ]

Enrollment: 120
Study Start Date: March 2007
Study Completion Date: August 2009
Primary Completion Date: August 2009 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Pathological Gamblers
Non-Pathological Gamblers

Detailed Description:
Personality traits of impulsivity will be measured with the Barrett Impulsiveness Scale and the NEO Personality Inventory-Revised. Behavioral components of impulsivity will be tested through delay and probability discounting tasks. Finally, measures of frontotemporal functioning are also included in a neuropsychology and neurocognitive battery. Recent studies have shown that these areas of the brain function differently in pathological gamblers; thus, the following neuropsychology/neurocognitive tests have been included: Attention/Information Processing Speed (via Simple Reaction Time Task and Continuous Performance Task), Episodic Memory (via Hopkins Verbal Learning Test-Revised and Brief Visuospatial Memory Test), Executive/Frontal Lobe Measures (via Wechsler Memory Scale-III, Choice Reaction Time Task, Working Memory Task (N-back), Probabilistic Reversal Learning Task, and Stop-Signal Task). Between group comparisons on this battery of impulsivity tests will be made to clarify which components of impulsivity are associated with pathological gambling. Secondly, within-group analyses will be performed to correlate impulsivity to gambling severity. Lastly, an exploratory analysis of subtyping pathological gamblers by performances on tasks of impulsivity and types of gambling will be conducted.

Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years and older   (Adult, Senior)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes
Sampling Method:   Non-Probability Sample
Study Population
Community Sample

Inclusion Criteria:

Inclusion Criteria for Pathological Gamblers:

  • 18 years or older
  • Be able to speak, read and write in English
  • Current diagnosis of pathological gambling (using DSM-IV criteria)
  • South Oaks Gambling Screen (SOGS) score of 5 or above during screening
  • Recent gambling activity -- at least once within one week prior to enrollment.
  • Voluntarily given informed consent and signed the informed consent document.
  • Not currently seeking treatment for gambling

Inclusion Criteria For Control Participants:

  • 18 years or older
  • Be able to speak, read and write in English
  • South Oaks Gambling Screen (SOGS) score of 5 or less during screening
  • Voluntarily given informed consent and signed the informed consent document
  • Does not meet diagnosis of pathological gambling by DSM-IV criteria
  • Not currently seeking treatment for gambling

Exclusion Criteria:

Exclusion Criteria for all participants:

  • Current treatment for pathological gambling, excluding involvement with Gamblers Anonymous
  • Ongoing medication for any psychiatric disorders, including anti-psychotics, antidepressants, mood stabilizers, anxiolytics or sedative/hypnotics.
  • Dependence by DSM-IV criteria on any psychoactive substance, excluding caffeine or nicotine
  • Presence of clinically unstable medical disorders that could harm the subject if not treated immediately.
  • Presence of any neurological or psychiatric disorders (as assessed by the SCID or MINI and BDI-II) that would require immediate treatment.
  • Test positive urine toxicology for illicit drugs prior to enrollment
  • Hamilton Depression Scale score of >17
  Contacts and Locations
Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the Contacts provided below. For general information, see Learn About Clinical Studies.

Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT00580567

United States, California
UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute
Los Angeles, California, United States, 90095
Sponsors and Collaborators
University of California, Los Angeles
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Principal Investigator: Timothy W. Fong, M.D. UCLA Gambling Studies Program
  More Information

Additional Information:
Responsible Party: Timothy Fong MD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry, National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Identifier: NCT00580567     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: PA-00-004
K23DA019522 ( US NIH Grant/Contract Award Number )
Study First Received: December 20, 2007
Last Updated: June 3, 2013

Keywords provided by Timothy Fong MD, National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA):
Pathological Gamblers
Problem Gamblers
Non-Pathological Gamblers
Gambling Severity

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Impulsive Behavior
Disruptive, Impulse Control, and Conduct Disorders
Mental Disorders processed this record on May 25, 2017