A comparison of impulsivity and sensation seeking in pathological gamblers and skydivers.
ABSTRACT The aim of this study was to compare pathological gamblers and skydivers in relation to measures of impulsivity and sensation seeking. The Eysenck Impulsivity Scale - Narrow Impulsiveness Subscale and the Arnett Inventory of Sensation Seeking were administered to pathological gamblers (n = 29), skydivers (n = 93), and a control group (n = 43). A two-way multivariate analysis of variance was conducted to explore differences in impulsivity and sensation seeking between the groups and possible group by gender and group by age interaction effects. The significant effects were further investigated using follow-up univariate analysis of variance. The results showed significant main effects of Group, Gender and Age, and a significant Group by Gender interaction effect. The results showed no statistically significant differences in impulsivity between pathological gamblers and skydivers; however, both groups scored higher than the controls. The skydivers scored higher compared to the pathological gamblers and controls on both sensation seeking subscales. Pathological gamblers scored higher than the controls on the subscale Need for Stimulus Intensity, although lower than the controls on the subscale Need for Novelty. We conclude that skydivers and pathological gamblers do not seem to differ in terms of impulsivity, but that the two groups differ in terms of sensation seeking. Skydivers are hence characterized by more sensation seeking compared to pathological gamblers. Skydiving, as opposed to pathological gambling, is not considered a psychiatric disorder, and skydiving may represent a more non-pathological way to fulfill the need for stimulus intensity.