Different personality factors have been investigated in connection with addictive disorders such as pathological gambling. “Impulse control”, proposed as a dimension of personality in modern “Big Five” models, has been associated with pathological gambling. Pathological gamblers have a high prevalence of childhood attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which is also associated with high impulsivity. Based on a five-factor personality model, our objective was to compare different personality dimensions in a group of pathological gamblers with childhood ADHD history, a group of pathological gamblers without such history and a control group. Special emphasis was placed on the factor “emotional stability”, which includes the subdimensions “emotion control” and “impulse control”.
A sample of 30 pathological gamblers with childhood ADHD history (ADHD+PG group), 33 pathological gamblers without ADHD history (ADHD-PG group) and 42 control subjects were assessed using the Big Five Questionnaire (BFQ). The different BFQ dimensions and subdimensions were compared.
For the “emotional stability” factor, the T-scores obtained indicated statistically significant differences between groups (ADHD+PG group: 44.1; ADHD-PG group: 51.9; control group: 57.9; ANOVA, p<0.001). Scheffe´s post hoc analysis showed the ADHD+PG group to be less emotionally stable than both the ADHD-PG (p=0.002) and the control groups (p<0.001); the ADHD-PG group also scored lower on this “emotional stability” factor than the control group (p=0.015).
Pathological gamblers with a history of childhood ADHD exhibit differential personality traits. ADHD history is associated with a lower score on the “emotional stability” factor, which includes the subdimensions “emotion control” and “impulse control”.