Major and Classification
Neuroscience and Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
Adam Leventhal, Ph.D.
Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, Keck School of Medicine
“The Role of Novelty Seeking, Reward Dependence, and Anhedonia in Pathological Gambling”
Novelty seeking, reward dependence, and anhedonia are personality traits that have been separately linked to addiction. Their role in pathological gambling was studied in a sample of 157 college students. In this study, 43 male and 114 female (mean age = 19.9, std dev = 1.78) participants were pooled from the University of Southern California through classroom recruitment and participation in the online psychology experiment database. The Temperament and Character Inventory was used to assess novelty seeking, reward dependence, and their individual subscales. The Temporal Experience of Pleasure Scale was used to gauge consummatory pleasure and anticipatory pleasure. The South Oaks Gambling Screen (SOGS) was used to evaluate gambling behavior. Correlation analyses were performed between SOGS score and variables pertaining to the three personality traits. We found consummatory pleasure to have a moderate negative correlation (r = -0.25, p = 0.002) with the SOGS score. The extravagance sub-score of novelty seeking showed a mild positive correlation (r = 0.16, p = 0.04) with the SOGS score, while the sentimentality sub-score of reward dependence demonstrated a mild negative correlation (r = -0.19, p = 0.02) with SOGS score. We conclude that certain facets of novelty seeking, reward dependence, and anhedonia may play a substantial role in pathological gambling. Future studies should include a larger, less homogenous sample to confirm the current findings.