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J Affect Disord. 2007 Sep;102(1-3):27-34. Epub 2007 Jan 19.

Problem gambling in bipolar disorder: results from the Canadian Community Health Survey.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada.



This investigation was undertaken to explore the prevalence and associated features of problem gambling amongst individuals with bipolar I disorder.


The data for this analysis were procured from the Canadian Community Health Survey: Mental Health and Well-being (CCHS 1.2) conducted by Statistics Canada. Individuals screening positive for a lifetime (World Mental Health- Composite International Diagnostic Interview) WMH-CIDI-defined manic episode (i.e. bipolar I disorder) or depressive episode (i.e. major depressive disorder) and current (i.e. past 12-month) problem gambling were compared to the general population without these disorders. Past year problem gambling was operationalized with the Canadian Problem Gambling Index (CPGI).


The sample consisted of 36,984 individuals (> or = 15 years old); the weighted prevalence of problem gambling was significantly higher (6.3%) amongst the population with bipolar disorder as compared to the general population (2.0%, p<0.001) and those with major depressive disorder (2.5%, p<0.01). Compared to those without bipolar disorder, the odds of problem gambling for bipolar individuals were over twice as high (OR=2.3; 95% CI 1.4-3.7), even when controlling for potential confounders. Males also had higher odds of problem gambling (OR=1.8; 95% CI 1.4-2.3), as did individuals without post-secondary education (OR=1.4; 95% CI 1.1-1.8). Persons who were married/cohabiting had lowered odds of problem gambling, compared with those who were unmarried (OR=0.6; 95% CI 0.5-0.8). Comorbid alcohol dependence (OR=3.4; 95% CI 2.3-5.0) and illicit drug dependence (OR=2.6; 95% CI 1.1-6.2) each conferred an increased risk for problem gambling. Physical activity level (moderate to active) was associated with a decreased risk for problem gambling (OR=0.8; 95% CI 0.6-0.9).


Individuals with bipolar I disorder are differentially affected by problem gambling. Opportunistic screening for problem gambling is warranted, particularly in persons with comorbid alcohol or substance dependence.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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