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Pathological gambling disorder (PG) has been associated with fronto-temporal dysfunction and maladaptive personality traits, such as impulsivity and novelty seeking. The purpose of this study was to examine the predictive variance of neuropsychological and personality characteristics in PG.
Persons with PG (n=25) and a comparison group (n=34) were administered a battery of neuropsychological tests, the Temperament and Character Inventory, and the Barratt Impulsiveness Scale. Subjects with PG had evidence of fronto-temporal dysfunction as assessed by the Stroop, Wisconsin Card Sorting Test-64, Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale Letter-Number Sequencing, Controlled Oral Word Association Test, and Boston Diagnostic Aphasia Examination Animal Naming Test.
Subjects with PG also had impaired decision making on the Iowa Gambling Task. PG subjects had elevated levels of impulsivity, novelty seeking, and harm avoidance, and lower levels of self-directedness and cooperativeness. Logistic regression analyses indicated that neuropsychological variables did not add significant incremental variance over personality traits in predicting PG (Block χ2=5.19, P=.074), while personality variables added significant incremental variance over neuropsychological traits in predicting PG (Block χ2=25.13, P<.001).
These results suggest that personality traits are better predictors than neuropsychological characteristics of whether someone has PG.
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