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Psychiatr Serv. 1998 Nov;49(11):1434-9.

Clinical features and psychiatric comorbidity of subjects with pathological gambling behavior.

Author information

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of Iowa College of Medicine, Iowa City 52242, USA. donald-black@uiowa.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Sociodemographic features, phenomenology, and psychiatric comorbidity of 30 subjects reporting pathological gambling behavior were examined.

METHODS:

Twenty-three men and seven women were recruited by advertisement and word-of-mouth. They all scored higher than 5 points on the South Oaks Gambling Screen, indicating problematic gambling behaviors. They completed structured and semistructured assessments, including the Diagnostic Interview Schedule for DSM-III-R disorders (DIS), the Personality Diagnostic Questionnaire, Fourth Revision (PDQ-IV), and the Minnesota Impulsive Disorders Interview.

RESULTS:

The typical subject was a 44-year-old white married man with a mean income of $34,250 who visited a casino once or more weekly. All 30 subjects reported gambling more money than they intended to. Twenty subjects (67 percent) reported gambling as a current problem, and nine (30 percent) reported it as a past problem. Twenty-one subjects (70 percent) wanted to stop gambling but did not feel they could. According to DIS results, 18 subjects (60 percent) had a lifetime mood disorder, 19 (64 percent) a lifetime substance use disorder, and 12 (40 percent) a lifetime anxiety disorder. Based on the PDQ-IV, 26 subjects (87 percent) had a personality disorder, the most common being obsessive-compulsive, avoidant, schizotypal, and paranoid personality disorders. The sample also had a relatively high rate of antisocial personality disorder. Impulse control disorders were common, especially compulsive buying and compulsive sexual behavior.

CONCLUSIONS:

The results confirm that individuals with pathological gambling suffer substantial psychiatric comorbidity. They support continued inclusion of pathological gambling in the diagnostic category of impulse control disorders.

PMID:
9826244
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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