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Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2010 Jun;67(6):624-30. doi: 10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2010.51.

Genetic and environmental influences on disordered gambling in men and women.

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  • 1Department of Psychological Sciences, University of Missouri-Columbia, Columbia, MO 65211, USA.



Women now represent nearly half of all individuals in treatment for pathological gambling (PG), but relatively little is known about the causes of PG among women or potential sex differences in the causes of PG.


To (1) investigate the role of genetic and environmental risk factors in the development of disordered gambling (DG) among women and (2) determine the extent to which the genetic and environmental risk of DG among women differs quantitatively or qualitatively from the risk of DG among men. (Disordered gambling refers to the full continuum of gambling-related problems that includes PG disorder.)


Twin study.


The national community-based Australian Twin Registry.


Four thousand seven hundred sixty-four individuals from 2889 twin pairs; twins were aged 32 to 43 years and 57% were women. Main Outcome Measure Disordered gambling was defined based on lifetime DSM-IV PG symptom counts.


The estimate of the proportion of variation in liability for DG due to genetic influences was 49.2% (95% confidence interval, 26.7-60.9). There was no evidence for shared environmental influences contributing to variation in DG liability. There was no evidence for quantitative or qualitative sex differences in the causes of variation in DG liability.


This study establishes for the first time that genes are as important in the etiology of DG in women as they are in men and that the susceptibility genes contributing to variation in liability for DG are likely to overlap considerably in men and women.

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