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Firearm ownership among young adults: associations with impulsivity and impulse control disorders

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Grant, Jon 
Chamberlain, Samuel  ORCID logo


Background: Firearm ownership is extremely common in parts of the USA. Yet little research has examined whether it is associated with impulsive symptoms and traits. Methods: Adults aged 18-29 years who gamble at least occasionally were recruited in two US cities using media advertisements for an exploratory study examining general mental health, impulse control disorders, impulsive personality, and aspects of cognition (decision-making, response inhibition, and flexible responding). The participants were grouped as firearm owners and non-firearm owners; these two groups were compared on the above measures. Results: 149 young adults took part, of whom 33 (22.1%) endorsed owning one or more firearms. Firearm ownership was significantly associated with male gender and elevated risk of gambling disorder, but not with other measures of impulsivity. Discussion: The link between firearm ownership and disordered gambling merits further research and may have policy implications, such as in terms of screening for guns in gambling arenas including casinos. Further research is needed to explore potential associations between gun ownership and impulsivity in cohorts with other demographic characteristics, including longitudinally.



Adult, Disruptive, Impulse Control, and Conduct Disorders, Female, Firearms, Gambling, Humans, Impulsive Behavior, Male, Ownership, United States, Young Adult

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Annals of Clinical Psychiatry

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Quadrant HealthCom

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Wellcome Trust (110049/Z/15/Z)
This study was funded by internal funds. Dr. Grant has received research grants from Promentis and Otsuka Pharmaceuticals and receives yearly compensation from Springer Publishing for acting as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Gambling Studies and has received royalties from Oxford University Press, American Psychiatric Publishing, Inc., Norton Press, and McGraw Hill. Dr. Chamberlain consults for Cambridge Cognition, Shire, Promentis, and Ieso Digital Health. Dr. Chamberlain’s involvement in this study was supported by a Wellcome Trust Clinical Fellowship (110049/Z/15/Z).