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Can J Psychiatry. 1999 Jun;44(5):483-7.

Characteristics of problem gambling in a Canadian context: a preliminary study using a DSM-IV-based questionnaire.

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  • 1Department of Community Health Sciences, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg.



To develop a self-report instrument to assess diagnostic criteria and associated features of pathological gambling in order to learn more about the characteristics of individuals who seek treatment for gambling problems in a Canadian setting.


Fifty-seven adults seeking treatment for gambling problems at the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba were assessed.


There was substantial variation in the endorsement of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) symptoms. Lying to family members or friends and "chasing" previous gambling losses were frequently reported, while more serious consequences (for example, relationship breakup, job losses) were less frequent. DSM-IV ratings were correlated (r = 0.59) with the South Oaks Gambling Screen. Many individuals reported gambling as a way to alleviate dysphoric mood, and 30% reported receiving mental health services in the past. Approximately 50% reported suicidal ideation, although recent suicide attempts were not common.


These preliminary results of Canadian adults seeking treatment for gambling problems suggest a somewhat different profile from many United States studies, which often rely on older male pathological gamblers. More systematic investigation of the presence of major depression and other psychiatric disorders is warranted. Consistent with demographic data collected at the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba, it appears that video lottery terminals play a major role in the type of problem gambling experience seen in Canadian settings.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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