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Clinical and Personality Characteristics of Problem and Pathological Gamblers With and Without Symptoms of Adult ADHD

Cairncross, Molly, MA*; Milosevic, Aleks, PhD, CPsych; Struble, Cara A., MA; Ellis, Jennifer D., MA; Ledgerwood, David M., PhD, LP§

The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease: April 2019 - Volume 207 - Issue 4 - p 246–254
doi: 10.1097/NMD.0000000000000959
Original Articles

The study examined the differential clinical and personality characteristics of problem and pathological gamblers (PPGs) with and without clinically significant symptoms of adult attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD). Adults (N = 150, n = 75 women) with PPG were assessed by the SCID-IV, Conners' Adult ADHD Rating Scales, Multidimensional Personality Questionnaire, Gambling Motivation Questionnaire, and the Barratt Impulsiveness Scale. PPGs who reported symptoms of ADHD were more likely to be male, endorse psychiatric comorbidities (i.e., alcohol dependence, anxiety disorders, and antisocial personality disorder), report maladaptive personality traits (i.e., higher negative emotionality and lower positive emotionality), as well as higher impulsivity (attention impulsiveness, motor impulsiveness, and nonplanning impulsiveness). PPGs with symptoms of ADHD reported gambling for social, coping, and enhancement reasons. A multivariate binary logistic regression revealed that sex, higher scores on social reasons for gambling, and lack of premeditation were associated with an increased likelihood of reporting ADHD symptoms. The findings demonstrate important differences of PPGs with symptoms of ADHD and provide information for treatment consideration.

*Department of Psychology, University of Windsor, Windsor;

Centre for Interpersonal Relationships, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada; and Departments of

Psychology, and

§Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan.

Send reprint requests to David M. Ledgerwood, PhD, LP, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences, Wayne State University, Suite 2A, 3901 Chrysler Dr, Detroit, MI 48201. E-mail:

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