Background: Prior data indicate high rates of problematic gambling in some racial-ethnic minority groups, yet research into mechanisms contributing to these associations is scant. The aim of the present study was to examine whether impulsivity and compulsivity differ across racial-ethnic groups in recreational gamblers.
Methods: Young adult non-treatment seeking recreational gamblers were recruited from the general community. Presence of mental health diagnoses (including gambling disorder) was exclusionary. Participants completed clinical interviews, questionnaires, and cognitive tasks germane to impulsivity and compulsivity.
Results: 202 recreational gamblers (63.5% males) had mean (standard deviation) age 23.8 (2.7) years and identified using the following racial-ethnic identities: Caucasian (N = 145), African-American (N = 41), and Asian (N = 16). Groups did not differ on age, gender, education, or impulsivity measures. Compared to the Caucasian group, the African-American group reported significantly higher endorsement of sub-syndromal disordered gambling, higher compulsivity scores, and exhibited decision-making decrements on the Gambling Task. The Asian and Caucasian groups did not differ on any measure.
Conclusions: This study suggests that young adult African-American recreational gamblers may experience greater levels of subsyndromal gambling compared to other racial-ethnic groups, and this appears linked with aspects of compulsivity. Future work should evaluate gambling longitudinally to better understand nuanced presentations across different groups, including in other age groups. Link to the article
Citation: Chamberlain, S.R., & Grant, J.E. (2020). Racial-ethnic differences in impulsivity and compulsivity in recreational gambling. Comprehensive Psychiatry, 97(152153). Retrieved from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0010440X19300768