Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: Potential gateway to pathological gambling

Hilma Halme


Objective: The aim of this review was to analyse the relationship between attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and pathological gambling, and to identify the biological, psychological and social predictor variables.

Methods: Literature was searched from PsycINFO and PubMed in reference to individuals with a history of ADHD symptoms and current gambling problems. In total, ten studies were included in the review.

Results: The results suggest a strong correlation with hyperactive-impulsive subtype of ADHD and internalising disorders in the development of pathological gambling. Futhermore, persistent ADHD was found to increase gambling behaviour severity.

Conclusion: There is preliminary evidence that ADHD could lead to a specific profile of gambling behaviour; however, more research is required on neurobiological variables before a causal relationship can be concluded.

Social significance: To improve early intervention and prevent negative consequences of gambling.


ADHD; gambling; predictor variables

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