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The benefits of using the UPPS model of impulsivity rather than the Big Five when assessing the relationship between personality and problem gambling

5. Landon J., Lobstein T., Godfrey F., Johns P., Brookes C., Jernigan D.
International codes and agreements to restrict the promotion
of harmful products can hold lessons for the control of alcohol
marketing. Addiction 2016; DOI: 10.1111/add.13545.
6. Mitchell A. D., Casben J. For DebateTrade law and alcohol
regulation: what role for a global alcohol marketing code?
Addiction 2016; DOI:10.1111/add.13606.
Brunborg et al.srecentpaper[1]focusesontherelevance
of personality factors associated with problem gambling
(PG) in a study in which personality traits were examined
along with subclinical gambling problems in a large-scale
epidemiological sample. The study offers new insights into
specic personality traits associated with PG, namely high
neuroticism and low conscientiousness [1]. If these traits
are indeed the most relevant personalitydimensions linked
to PG, then in our communication we would like to suggest
using the UPPS model of impulsivity [2] as a more suitable
framework to help us understand the relationship between
personality and PG, rather than the Big Five model [3].
Based on the UPPS model [2,4], impulsivity is an
umbrella construct reected by four distinct dimensions:
(i) negative urgency, dened as the tendency to act rashly
while faced with intense negative emotional contexts
(emotion-laden impulsivity); (ii) premeditation, dened as
the tendency to take into account the consequences of an
act before engaging in that act; (iii) perseverance, dened
as the ability to remain focused on a task that may be
boring and/or difcult; and (iv) sensation-seeking,
considered as a tendency to enjoy and pursue activities
that are exciting and openness to trying new experiences.
In relation to the arguments developed in the current
letter, it is important to emphasize that each factor has
an analogue among the facets of the Big Five personality
Negative urgency is related strongly to neuroticism
(and not to conscientiousness, as stated erroneously by
Brunborg et al. [1]). Furthermore, according to Settles
et al. [5], negative urgency explains variance in exter-
nalizing behaviours beyond that accounted for by other
personality factors that correlate strongly with
neuroticism. Moreover, it has been shown that urgency is
the impulsivity facet that distinguishes more strongly
between treatment-seeking pathological gamblers and
matched control participants [6]. However, in comparison
to neuroticism, negative urgency is a narrower construct
that has been linked to specic executive and affective
mechanisms (e.g. poor pre-potent response inhibition,
heightened emotion reactivity) [7,8], allowing the
development of more focused prevention and treatment
strategies [9].
Premeditation and perseverance relate, respectively, to
the deliberationand self-disciplinefacets of conscien-
tiousness. These two UPPS components rely upon distinct
underlying mechanisms [10], which are not linked identi-
cally to PG [11]. In fact, the lack of premeditation has been
associated with poor decision-making abilities, which is an
established hallmark of PG [12,13], whereas the lack of
perseverance has been linked rather to attentional
processes that are not necessary altered in PG. Accordingly,
it is not surprising that low premeditation (but not low
perseverance) is elevated in PG. It is thus likely that
screening tools able to distinguish between premeditation
and perseverance are more relevant in relation to the
prevention and treatment of PG than measures capturing
only a broad and multi-determined construct of conscien-
tiousness (such as the one used in Brunborg et al.[1]).
Finally, the construct of sensation-seeking (as measured
by the UPPS) is probably more relevant in relation to PG
than the broader construct of extraversion (measured by
the Big Five and unrelated to PG in Brunborg et al.[1]).
Indeed, although linked inconsistently to PG per se,a
heightened level of sensation-seeking has been associated
consistently with certain gambling preferences (e.g.
gambling frequency, favoured types of games) [14,15],
and thus constitutes relevant information when tailoring
prevention efforts in gamblers (for example, in relation to
Declaration of interests
Keywords Gambling, impulsivity, personality,
treatment, UPPS, urgency.
Department of Developmental and Social Psychology, University of
Padova, Padova, Italy
National Problem Gambling Clinic, London,
and Laboratory for Experimental Psychopathology, Psychological
Science Research Institute, Université Catholique de Louvain,
Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium
1. Brunborg G., Hanss D., Mentzoni R., Molde H., Palleson S.
Problem gambling and the Five Factor model of personality:
a large population-based study. Addiction 2016; 111:
© 2016 Society for the Study of Addiction Addiction,112,370373
372 Letters to the Editor
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sivity: using a structural model of personality to understand
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How do impulsivity traits inuence problem gambling
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© 2016 Society for the Study of Addiction Addiction,112,370373
Letters to the Editor 373
... Thus, this model of impulsivity may identify the specific dimensions of impulsivity involved in the co-occurrence of ADHD and behavioral addictions. Previous studies showed that dimensions of the UPPS-P model can explain variance in externalizing behaviors such as pathological gambling and predict both ADHD and behavioral addiction status (Canale et al., 2017;Lopez et al., 2015). The UPPS-P dimensions would be differentially involved in addictive behaviors. ...
Objective: This study aimed to investigate ADHD in adult outpatients seeking treatment for a behavioral addiction and to identify the specificity of psychopathological features if the behavioral addiction cooccurs with adult ADHD. Method: Sixty-five outpatients consulting for a behavioral addiction were assessed for ADHD (DIVA-5), addictive disorder (alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, gambling, gaming, food, and sex), impulsivity (UPPS-P), and emotion dysregulation (DERS-36). Results: In our sample of outpatients seeking treatment for a behavioral addiction, adult ADHD was independently associated with higher compulsive sexual behavior disorder severity, "sensation seeking," "positive urgency," difficulties in "goal-directed behavior," "impulse control," and use of "emotion regulation strategies" in the context of intense emotions. A 19% of the sample was diagnosed for adult ADHD. Conclusion: The association of adult ADHD with specific dimensions of impulsivity and emotion dysregulation, pave the way for future clinical and research perspectives.
... In addition, PG has been associated with impulsivity, particularly its emotional components (21). According to the evidence, emotion-driven impulsivity and ED are intimately linked (30). Compulsive gambling might be motivated by an impulsive need to avoid undesirable mood states (31). ...
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... Similar to the BIS-11, there are several aspects of the UPPS-P that have been identified as particularly important in disordered gambling. Specifically, previous studies have reported a robust relationship between the affective components of the UPPS-P (positive and negative urgency) and gambling (Canale, Vieno, Bowden-Jones, & Billieux, 2017;Kim, Poole, Hodgins, McGrath, & Dobson, 2019;Navas et al., 2017;Rogier, Colombi, & Velotti, 2020). Impulsivity has long been proposed to influence the strength of AB in substance use (Field & Cox, 2008), and this relation was supported in a meta-analytic review (Coskunpinar & Cyders, 2013). ...
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... In GD, high levels of both impulsive action (27) and impulsive choice (26,28) have been observed, using self-report or behavioral measures, although there is a lack of consistency in explaining their association with GD severity (27,(29)(30)(31). GD has also been linked to impulsive tendencies (32,33). Specifically, positive and negative urgency levels and lack of perseverance are dimensions that may best distinguish individuals with and without GD (34)(35)(36). ...
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Background and Objective: Complex associations between gambling disorder (GD) and impulsivity have been identified. However, little is known regarding how compulsivity associates with different impulsivity domains in GD. In this study, we examined associations between self-reported and behavioral measures of impulsivity–assessed through the Barratt Impulsiveness Scale (BIS-11) and the Experiential Discounting Task (EDT), respectively- and compulsivity-measured using the Padua Inventory and the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST), respectively-, in an adult sample with GD ( N = 132, 94 men and 38 women, ages ranging from 18 to 69 years). GD severity was assessed using the South Oaks Gambling Screen. Methods: Structural Equation Modeling was used to examine relationships between impulsivity and compulsivity measures, age, and GD severity. Results: BIS-11 non-planning and BIS-11 total scores positively correlated with GD severity. The standardized coefficients for the SEM showed direct positive contributions of BIS-11 non-planning, Padua and EDT scores to GD severity. Only participants' ages directly contributed to WCST perseverative errors, and no direct or indirect effects were found with respect to GD severity. Conclusion: The findings suggest that specific aspects of impulsivity and compulsivity contribute to GD severity. Interventions specifically targeting domains that are most relevant to GD severity may improve treatment outcomes.
... Positive connections between probability discounting (a cognitive bias defined as the subjects' tendency to overvalue reinforcement with lower odds) and gambling have also been reported in the scientific literature in recent years (Kyonka & Schutte, 2018;Steward et al., 2017). As regards the models of impulsivity used to assess the relationships between personality traits and problem gambling, one of the most widely used in the research area nowadays is the UPPS-P scale (Canale, Vieno, Bowden-Jones, & Billieux, 2017), originally based on a multi-faceted conception comprising five impulsive personality traits: lack of premeditation, lack of perseverance, sensation seeking, positive urgency, and negative urgency (Whiteside & Lynam, 2001). This scale was defined based on exploratory factor analysis to identify the personality facets associated with impulsive behaviors from among several other commonly used measurements of impulsivity, and it has shown to have robust correlation with different forms of psychopathology. ...
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Background and aims: Due to the contribution of age to the etiology of gambling disorder (GD), there is a need to assess the moderator effect of the aging process with other features that are highly related with the clinical profile. The objective of this study is to examine the role of the chronological age into the relationships between cognitive biases, impulsivity levels and gambling preference with the GD profile during adulthood. Methods: Sample included n = 209 patients aged 18-77 years-old recruited from a Pathological Gambling Outpatients Unit. Orthogonal contrasts explored polynomial patterns in data, and path analysis implemented through structural equation modeling assessed the underlying mechanisms between the study variables. Results: Compared to middle-age patients, younger and older age groups reported more impairing irrational beliefs (P = 0.005 for interpretative control and P = 0.043 for interpretative bias). A linear trend showed that as people get older sensation seeking (P = 0.006) and inability to stop gambling (P = 0.018) increase. Path analysis showed a direct effect between the cognitive bias and measures of gambling severity (standardized effects [SE] between 0.12 and 0.17) and a direct effect between impulsivity levels and cumulated debts due to gambling (SE = 0.22). Conclusion: Screening tools and intervention plans should consider the aging process. Specific programs should be developed for younger and older age groups, since these are highly vulnerable to the consequences of gambling activities and impairment levels of impulsivity and cognitive biases.
... Results of studies that compared groups of DGs with groups of community participants are more homogenous, observing higher levels of positive urgency among DGs (Albein-Urios et al. 2012;Boothby et al. 2017;Cyders and Smith 2008a;Michalczuk et al. 2011). Finally, studies that tested the predictive role of this factor on GD's severity, controlling for the others dimensions, converge in the observation of a positive and significant effect (Blain et al. 2015;Canale et al. 2017;Haw 2017) with an unique exception (Savvidou et al. 2017). ...
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Emotion dysregulation is considered a central feature of gambling disorder. However, research has mainly focused on the examination of the role played by negative emotional states, neglecting processes related to positive emotionality. Recently, some authors developed a useful tool to measure dysregulation of positive emotions, the Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale-Positive (DERS-P), which has been successfully used in a study investigating substance use disorder. The role played by dysregulation of positive emotions in gambling disorder was investigated in order to bridge the gap in the literature. We administered the Impulsive Behavior Scale Short Form (UPPS-P) and the DERS-P to a sample of disordered gamblers (n = 95) using the South Oaks Gambling Screen (SOGS) as well as group of non-gamblers or non disordered gamblers (n = 105). We found that disordered gamblers, compared to controls, scored higher on the negative and positive urgency subscale of the UPPS-P as well as on the impulse and non-acceptance subscales of the DERS-P. Moreover, these scales positively correlated with the severity of gambling disorder. However, in a unique model of multiple regression analysis, only the positive urgency dimension was a significant predictor of the SOGS scores. Dysregulation of positive emotions seems to be involved in gambling disorder. Specifically, our study suggested that the difficulty to accept positive emotional states in non-judgmental way accounts for the disorder. However, the proneness to act rashly under the influence of positive emotional states appears to be the stronger predictor of gambling disorder severity in this sample.
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Previous research indicates that the invigorating effect of stress sensitivity on gambling behavior might be moderated by individual differences. The current preregistered study tested whether gender and negative urgency (i.e. an emotion-related impulsivity trait) moderate the relationship between perceived stress and laboratory gambling following experimentally induced sadness. One hundred twenty college students were randomly assigned to a sadness versus a control condition before completing a laboratory gambling task. Although the distribution of the main study variables forced us to slightly deviate from the preregistered data analysis plan, we were able to show that heightened stress sensitivity affects gambling behavior and that this effect differs by gender (but not in terms of negative urgency) under conditions of sadness versus neutral mood. Men with high stress sensitivity gambled more money and more frequently selected the riskier betting option in the sadness condition, whereas women with heightened stress sensitivity display the same pattern in the neutral condition. Our study is relevant from a methodological standpoint and answers recent calls for endorsing open-science practices in gambling research. Findings also suggest that more research into female gambling is warranted and that emotion-regulation skills should be a central component of problem gambling prevention.
Background and aims Emotion regulation (ER) and impulsivity impairments have been reported in patients with gambling disorder (GD). However, both constructs have not been studied in depth jointly in clinical samples. Therefore, the aim of this study was to analyze ER and impulsive tendencies/traits in a sample of n=321 treatment-seeking individuals with GD by differentiating them according to their gambling preference (n=100 strategic; n=221 non-strategic). Methods Our sample was assessed through the DERS (ER), the UPPS-P (impulsivity), and the DSM-5 (GD severity). Results The non-strategic group included a higher proportion of women and reported greater ER impairments, and more impulsive traits/tendencies compared to strategic gamblers. GD severity was associated with all DERS subscale (except for awareness) and with urgency dimensions of the UPPS-P. Discussion and Conclusions Our findings confirm that strategic and non-strategic gamblers differ in their ER processes and impulsive tendencies, showing the first clinical group a more adaptive profile. These results suggest the relevance of assessing these ER and impulsivity in order to tailor better treatment approaches.
Background Students often simultaneously deal with shifting support networks, stressful life changes and psychological distress which may affect academic achievement. Methods: 285 students completed the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12) to assess depression and the Computerized Life Events Assessment Record (CLEAR), to establish life events and supportive relationships. Module grades were used to measure academic achievement. A general linear model was used with student grade as the dependent variable and life events, depression and supportive relationships as independent variables. Confounding variables included age and sex. Results: A three-way interaction between life events, depression and lack of supportive relationships was found. It indicated the performance of depressed students depended on whether they had supportive relationships and that this interaction also depended on whether they had experienced a life event in the past year. Conclusions: Universities need to provide more support to students with life stress as they transition into university life.
Objective Substance use is a public health concern and cross-sectional studies have found that impulsivity and drinking motives influence substance use in emerging adults. Despite these findings, longitudinal studies with nuanced measures of impulsivity and drinking motives are needed. Participants: The current study investigated the three-year relationship between impulsivity-related traits, drinking motives, sex, and drinking outcomes in a sample of 509 college students (47.47% male; 81% White). Methods: The effects of impulsivity traits and drinking motives on problematic drinking outcomes were evaluated using linear mixed effects models. Results: The results confirmed the hypothesized relationship between traits of impulsivity, drinking motives, and alcohol outcomes over time. Further, sex significantly interacted with drinking motives longitudinally in its relationship with alcohol use outcomes. Conclusions: These results indicate that intervention efforts may need to be tailored to specific individual attributes to target direct correlates of alcohol use behavior to increase effectiveness.
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Background and aims: Knowledge of the personality characteristics of individuals who develop gambling problems is important for designing targeted prevention efforts. Previous studies of the relationship between the five-factor model of personality and gambling problems were based on small samples not representative of the general population. We estimated differences in Neuroticism, Extroversion, Intellect, Agreeableness and Conscientiousness between non-problem gamblers and individuals with low, moderate and severe gambling problems. Design: Cross-sectional survey Setting: Norway Participants: 10 081 (51.5% female) individuals aged 16 to 74 years (mean age 46.5 years). Measures: The Problem Gambling Severity Index, The Mini-International Personality Item Pool, and demographic variables. Differences between groups of gamblers were analyzed by ordinary least squares regression models separately for each personality trait adjusting for gender, age, cohabitation, level of education and work status. Findings: Gamblers with low level, moderate level and severe level of gambling problems differed significantly from non-problem gamblers in Neuroticism (b = 0.16, 0.34 and 0.66 respectively, all p < .001) and Conscientiousness (b = -0.13, -0.27, and -0.44 respectively, all p < .001). Moderate and severe problem gamblers differed from non-problem gamblers in Agreeableness (b = -0.21, p < .001 and b = -0.20, p = .028 respectively). In addition, gambling problems were much more prevalent among men than women, and more prevalent among those who live alone, individuals without tertiary education, and among those who are unemployed or on disability pension. Conclusions: A higher level of problem gambling severity appears to be associated with higher scores on Neuroticism, and with lower scores on Conscientiousness and Agreeableness in the Mini-International Personality Item Pool.
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Although substantial research suggests that motivations have been found to mediate the relationships between impulsivity traits and various forms of substance use, no studies have examined how gambling motives may mediate the relationships between impulsivity traits and problem gambling. The primary purpose of this study was to test an integrative model linking impulsivity traits and gambling problems, evaluating the mediating effects of gambling motives. Participants were 594 students (73% male; age, M = 19.92 years; SD = 2.91) enrolled in public high schools or universities. Young people who tend to act rashly in response to extremely positive moods showed higher enhancement and coping motives, which in turn were positively related to gambling problems. Individuals with higher levels of sensation seeking were more likely to have higher levels of enhancement motives, which in turn were also positively related to gambling problems. The model was examined in several groups, separately for the level of perceived gambling risk/benefits (lower perceived gambling risk, higher perceived gambling risk, lower perceived gambling benefits, and higher perceived gambling benefits). There were significant differences between these groups for this division. These findings suggest that prevention and/or treatment strategies might need to consider the model's variables, including impulsivity traits and gambling motives, in accordance with individual levels of perceived gambling risk/benefits. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved).
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The Iowa Gambling Task (IGT) involves probabilistic learning via monetary rewards and punishments, where advantageous task performance requires subjects to forego potential large immediate rewards for small longer-term rewards to avoid larger losses. Pathological gamblers (PG) perform worse on the IGT compared to controls, relating to their persistent preference toward high, immediate, and uncertain rewards despite experiencing larger losses. In this contribution, we review studies that investigated processes associated with poor IGT performance in PG. Findings from these studies seem to fit with recent neurocognitive models of addiction, which argue that the diminished ability of addicted individuals to ponder short-term against long-term consequences of a choice may be the product of an hyperactive automatic attentional and memory system for signaling the presence of addiction-related cues (e.g., high uncertain rewards associated with disadvantageous decks selection during the IGT) and for attributing to such cues pleasure and excitement. This incentive-salience associated with gambling-related choice in PG may be so high that it could literally "hijack" resources ["hot" executive functions (EFs)] involved in emotional self-regulation and necessary to allow the enactment of further elaborate decontextualized problem-solving abilities ("cool" EFs). A framework for future research is also proposed, which highlights the need for studies examining how these processes contribute specifically to the aberrant choice profile displayed by PG on the IGT.
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Impulsivity is tightly linked to addiction. However, there are several pathways by means of which impulsive individuals are more prone to become addicts, or to suffer an addiction more intensely and for a longer period. One of those pathways involves an inadequate appraisal or regulation of positive and negative emotions, leading to lack of control over hazardous behaviors, and inappropriate decisions. In the present work, we assessed cocaine-dependent individuals (CDI; n = 20), pathological gamblers (PG; n = 21), and healthy controls (HC; n = 23) in trait impulsivity measures (UPPS-P model's dimensions), and decision-making tasks (Go/No-go; delay-discounting task). During the Go/No-go task, electroencephalographic (EEG) activity was recorded, and Go/No-go stimuli-evoked potentials (ERP) were extracted. Theory-driven ERP analyses focused on the No-go > Go difference in the N2 ERP. Our results show that negative urgency is one of the several psychological features that distinguish addicts from HC. Nevertheless, among the dimensions of trait impulsivity, negative urgency is unique at independently covarying with gambling over-pathologization in the PG sample. Cocaine-dependent individuals performed more poorly than gamblers in the Go/No-go task, and showed abnormal Go/No-go stimuli-evoked potentials. The difference between the No-go stimulus-evoked N2, and the Go one was attenuated by severity and intensity of chronic cocaine use. Emotional dimensions of impulsivity, however, did not influence Go/No-go performance.
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The purpose of this study was to study the sensation seeking personality trait in two groups of French pathological gamblers: one group who play games available in cafés (n = 57) and one group who bet on horses at the racetrack (n = 42). Sensation seeking was measured with the Zuckerman's Sensation Seeking Scale; intensity of gambling behavior with the South Oaks Gambling Screen and the DSM-IV criteria of pathological gambling. Pathological gamblers who bet at the racetracks had significantly higher scores on Sensation Seeking than those who play games available in cafés. These findings are consistent with the idea of identifying clinically distinct subgroups of gamblers essential in the treatment pathological gambling. One subtype is made of those who play “active” games who gamble for the arousal produced by the game. The second subtype would be one made up of those who play “passive” games who gamble to avoid unpleasant emotional states.