The relevance of personality traits in impulsivity-related disorders: From substance use disorders and gambling disorder to bulimia nervosa

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Background and aims: The main aim of this study was to analyze and describe the clinical characteristics and shared personality traits in different impulsivity-compulsivity spectrum disorders: substance use disorders (SUD), gambling disorder (GD), and bulimia nervosa (BN). The specific aims were to compare personality differences among individuals with pure SUD, BN with and without SUD, and GD with and without SUD. In addition, we assessed the differential predictive capacity of clinical and personality variables in relation to diagnostic subtype. Methods: The sample comprised 998 subjects diagnosed according to DSM-IV-TR criteria: 101 patients were diagnosed with SUD, 482 with GD, 359 with BN, 11 with GD + SUD, and 45 patients with BN + SUD. Various assessment instruments were administered, as well as other clinical measures, to evaluate their predictive capacity. Results: Marked differences in personality traits were observed between groups. Novelty seeking, harm avoidance, self-directedness, cooperation, and self-transcendence best differentiated the groups. Notably, novelty seeking was significantly higher in the two dual pathology subgroups. Patients with dual pathology showed the most dysfunctional personality profiles. Discussion and conclusion: Our results indicate the existence of shared dysfunctional personality traits among the groups studied, especially in novelty seeking and self-directedness.


  • Amparo Del Pino-Gutiérrez
  • Susana Jiménez-Murcia
  • Fernando Fernández-Aranda
  • Zaida Agüera
  • Roser Granero
  • Anders Hakansson
  • Ana B. Fagundo
  • Ferran Bolao
  • Ana Valdepérez
  • Gemma Mestre-Bach
  • Trevor Steward
  • Eva Penelo
  • Laura Moragas
  • Neus Aymamí
  • Mónica Gómez-Peña
  • Assumpta Rigol-Cuadras
  • Virginia Martín-Romera
  • José M. Menchón
External organisations
  • University of Barcelona
  • Bellvitge University Hospital-IDIBELL
  • Carlos III Health Institute
  • Autonomous University of Barcelona
  • Hospital de Sant Pau
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Psychiatry


  • Bulimia nervosa, Dual disorders, Gambling disorder, Impulsivity, Personality, Substance use disorders
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)396-405
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Behavioral Addictions
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Publication categoryResearch