Comorbidity of impulse control disorders in pathological gamblers


Jon E. Grant, JD MD, Department of Psychiatry, University of Minnesota School of Medicine, 2450 Riverside Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55454-1495, USA


Objective: To investigate the rate of impulse control disorders among pathological gamblers and examine the relationship of comorbidity to gambling severity.

Method: Ninety-six adult pathological gamblers [mean age: 46.7 ± 11.0 years; female: 44 (45.8%)] completed the following: Minnesota Impulsive Disorders Interview, Yale-Brown Obsessive–Compulsive Scale Modified for Pathological Gambling, and Gambling Symptom Assessment Scale.

Results: Twenty-two subjects (22.9%) reported a comorbid impulse control disorder, most commonly compulsive sexual behaviour and compulsive buying. Subjects with comorbidity reported significantly greater intensity of urges (t = −2.021; df = 94; P = 0.046) and thoughts (t = −2.147; df = 42.3; P = 0.038) related to gambling, and greater interference (t = −3.913; df = 48.1; P < 0.001) and distress (t = −2.504; df = 52.7; P = 0.015) secondary to gambling urges and thoughts.

Conclusion: Impulse control disorders appear common among pathological gamblers and are associated with more severe gambling symptoms.