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J Gambl Stud. 2015 Jun;31(2):501-12. doi: 10.1007/s10899-013-9426-1.

Clinical and personality characteristics associated with post traumatic stress disorder in problem and pathological gamblers recruited from the community.

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Department of Psychology, University of Windsor, Windsor, ON, Canada,


Problem and pathological gamblers (PPGs) are more likely than the general population to experience co-occurring psychiatric problems. However, the problem gambling literature has largely overlooked the importance of trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a prevalent co-occurring condition among PPGs. This study examined clinical differences between PPGs with and without a history of co-occurring PTSD. Lifetime PPGs (N = 150) recruited from community sources completed clinical assessments including measures of problem gambling severity, co-occurring psychiatric conditions, gambling motivations and personality traits. Over 19% of the participants met criteria for a lifetime diagnosis of PTSD. Those presenting with PTSD histories were more likely to be women, and were more likely to have lifetime substance use disorder (abuse and/or dependence) and substance dependence, lifetime major depressive disorder, current dysthymic disorder, and lifetime and current anxiety disorder. Those with lifetime PTSD also were more likely to use gambling as a way to cope with negative emotions and experienced greater negative emotionality. Few PPGs (16%) had ever sought treatment for their gambling problems. PTSD is a prevalent condition among individuals with lifetime PPG recruited from the community, and is associated with greater psychiatric co-morbidity among these populations. More research is needed to further understand the relationship between gambling and trauma, and better outreach is needed to encourage these individuals to seek treatment.

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