Principal Investigator: Jon E. Grant, J.D., M.D., M.P.H.
Award: $402,500 in 2013; supplementary funding of $135,000 awarded in 2016

Emerging evidence shows remarkable similarities in signs, symptoms and neuro-pathology among several forms of impulsive behavior, such as pathological gambling, excessive drug and alcohol use, and risk-taking behaviors such as driving recklessly and sexual promiscuity. Identifying and understanding these commonalities of impulsivity may reveal the driving force behind pathological gambling. The behaviors that characterize pathological gambling (for example, chasing losses, preoccupation with gambling, inability to stop) have been strongly linked to an inability to inhibit reward-seeking, also referred to as “impulsivity” or “disinhibition.” Understanding the complexity of impulse inhibition is a crucial step toward developing effective prevention and treatment strategies.

Developmentally, impulsive behavior that underlies pathological gambling tends to start during late adolescence or early adulthood. Consequently, the center’s multidisciplinary research team is studying a sample of 500 adolescents and young adults (ages 13-25). The sample is being assessed for a range of impulsive behaviors, family history, comorbidity and developmental history. The predictive power of the impulsivity models developed is being tested by following a sample of the adolescents longitudinally during the last two years of the grant to examine the development of a gambling disorder and other impulsive behaviors. The research team is developing and pilot testing cognitive behavioral interventions that will directly target impulse inhibition and decision-making.

The long-term clinical question being pursued by the center is: Can we develop a susceptibility model of impulsivity that will allow us to identify young adults at risk of developing pathological gambling and, thereby, develop effective interventions for prevention and treatment?

Funded Studies

Chamberlain, S.R., Derbyshire, K., Daws, R.E., Odlaug, B.L., Leppink, E.W., & Grant, J.E. (2016). White matter tract integrity in treatment-resistant gambling disorder. British Journal of Psychiatry. Advance online publication.

Chamberlain, S.R., Derbyshire, K., Leppink, E., & Grant, J.E. (2015). Impact of ADHD symptoms on clinical and cognitive aspects of problem gambling. Comprehensive Psychiatry, 57, 51-7. doi: 10.1016/j.comppsych.2014.10.013.

Derbyshire, K. L., Lust, K. A., Schreiber, L. R., Odlaug, B. L., Christenson, G. A., Golden, D. J., & Grant, J. E. (2013). Problematic Internet use and associated risks in a college sample. Comprehensive Psychiatry, 54(5), 415-422.

Grant, J.E., Derbyshire, K., Leppink, E., & Chamberlain, S.R. (2014). Suicidality in non-treatment seeking young adults with subsyndromal gambling disorder. Psychiatric Quarterly,85(4), 513-22. doi: 10.1007/s11126-014-9312-8.

Grant, J.E., Leppink, E.W., Redden, S.A., Odlaug, B.L., & Chamberlain, S.R. (2015). COMT genotype, gambling activity, and cognition. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 68, 371-6.

Grant, J.E., Odlaug, B.L., & Chamberlain, S.R. (2016). Neural and psychological underpinnings of gambling disorder: A review. Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology & Biological Psychiatry, 65,188-93. doi: 10.1016/j.pnpbp.2015.10.007.

Harvanko, A. M., Derbyshire, K. L., Schreiber, L. R., & Grant, J. E. (2014). Sleepiness and cognition in young adults who gamble and use alcohol. Journal of Behavioral Addictions, 3(3), 166-172.

Harvanko, A. M., Schreiber, L. R., & Grant, J. E. (2013). Prediction of alcohol and gambling problems in young adults by using a measure of decision making. Journal of Addiction Medicine, 7(5), 314-319.

Leppink, E., Derbyshire, K., Chamberlain, S.R., & Grant, J.E. (2014). A preliminary comparison of cannabis use in subsyndromal gamblers: select neurocognitive and behavioral differences based on use. Journal of Addiction Medicine, 8(6),443-9.

Leppink, E., & Grant, J. (2015). Traumatic event exposure and gambling: Associations with clinical, neurocognitive, and personality variables. Annals of clinical psychiatry: official journal of the American Academy of Clinical Psychiatrists, 27(1), 16-24.

Leppink, E. W., Redden, S. A., & Grant, J. E. (2016). Impulsivity and gambling: A complex clinical association across three measures. The American Journal on Addictions, 25(2), 138-144.

Potenza, M. N., Balodis, I. M., Franco, C. A., Bullock, S., Xu, J., Chung, T., & Grant, J. E. (2013). Neurobiological considerations in understanding behavioral treatments for pathological gambling. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 27(2), 380.

Redden, S.A., Leppink, E.W., & Grant, J.E. (2015). Clinical and cognitive correlates of young adult at-risk gamblers with and without depression. Annals of Clinical Psychiatry, 27(4), 261-266.