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J Abnorm Psychol. 2003 May;112(2):263-74.

The natural history of problem gambling from age 18 to 29.

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Department of Psychological Sciences and Missouri Alcoholism Research Center, University of Missouri-Columbia, 65211, USA.


Aggregate-level prevalences and individual-level developmental trajectories of untreated problem gambling were examined in an 11-year, 4-wave longitudinal study spanning the adolescent through young adult years. The past-year prevalences, 3-4 year incidences, and lifetime prevalences of problem gambling from adolescence through young adulthood were relatively stable at 2%-3%, 1%-2%, and 3%-5%, respectively. Despite the stability of the prevalences at the aggregate level, problem gambling appeared to be more transitory and episodic than enduring and chronic at the individual level. The present study is consistent with the limited evidence available on the natural history of problem gambling in the community in suggesting that natural recovery may be the rule rather than the exception.

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