Demographic and Clinical Features of 131 Adult Pathological Gamblers
J Clin Psychiatry 2001;62:957-962
© Copyright 2014 Physicians Postgraduate Press, Inc.
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Background: This study was constructed to detail the demographic
and phenomenological features of pathological gamblers.
Method: One hundred thirty-one subjects with DSM-IV pathological
gambling were administered a semistructured interview to elicit demographic
data and information on the phenomenology, age at onset, course, associated
features, treatment history, and response to treatment of the disorder, followed
by the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV.
Results: Seventy-eight female (59.5%) and 53 male (40.5%) (mean
± SD age = 47.7 ± 11.0 years) pathological gamblers were studied.
The majority of subjects (55.7%) were married. Subjects gambled a mean of 16
hours per week. Slot machines (65%), cards (33%), and blackjack (26%) were the
most popular forms of gambling. The mean length of time between first gambling
behavior and onset of pathological gambling was 6.3 ± 8.9 years. Approximately
one half (46%) of the subjects reported that television, radio, and billboard
advertisements were a trigger to gamble. Most gamblers had severe financial,
social, or legal problems. The majority of the subjects (58%) had at least 1
first-degree relative who also exhibited symptoms of problematic gambling behavior.
Conclusion: Pathological gambling is a disabling disorder associated
with high rates of social and legal difficulties.