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Assessing the role of impulsivity in smoking and non-smoking disordered gamblers

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Boothby, C.A., Kim, H.S., Romanow, N.K., Hodgins, D.C., & McGrath, D.S. (2017). Assessing the role of impulsivity in smoking and non-smoking disordered gamblers. Addictive Behaviors,70, 35-41, doi:10.1016/j.addbeh.2017.02.002


BACKGROUND: Co-morbidity with other addictive behaviors is common in disordered gambling (DG). In particular, tobacco dependence has been found to be among the most prevalent disorders co-morbid with DG. While the extant literature has firmly established the co-occurrence of DG and smoking, there is a paucity of research examining factors that differentiate DGs who smoke from those who do not.

OBJECTIVES: To address this empirical gap, the current study tested whether dimensions of trait impulsivity as measured by the UPPS-P Impulsive Behavior Scale (positive urgency, negative urgency, lack of premeditation, lack of perseverance, and sensation seeking), discriminated between non-DGs and DGs based on their present smoking status: non-smoker, occasional smoker, and daily smoker.

METHODS: To this end, 564 community gamblers were recruited through a crowdsourcing platform (Amazon's Mechanical Turk) and completed an online survey, assessing problem gambling severity, tobacco use, and trait impulsivity.

RESULTS: MANOVA analyses revealed significant main effects for both gambling severity and smoking status groups. Importantly, a significant gambling by smoking interaction was also found. Pairwise comparisons revealed that DGs who were daily smokers scored higher on negative urgency than those who smoked occasionally or not all. Furthermore, among non-DGs, smoking status failed to discriminate between mean scores on negative urgency. No other significant interaction effects were found for the remaining UPPS-P impulsivity facets.

CONCLUSIONS: Results suggest that individual components of trait impulsivity, and more specifically negative urgency, successfully differentiate DGs who do not smoke, or just smoke occasionally, from DGs who smoke daily. These findings suggest that the degree of trait impulsivity may potentially distinguish between DGs and DGs who are dually addicted to other substances such as tobacco.