Factors at Play in Faster Progression for Female Pathological Gamblers: An Exploratory Analysis
J Clin Psychiatry 2003;64(4):433-438
© Copyright 2014 Physicians Postgraduate Press, Inc.
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Background: Previous studies reported a
faster progression for alcohol dependence and pathological
gambling among females as compared with males. This phenomenon
was called the "telescoping effect." By comparing
female gamblers with male gamblers regarding gambling preferences
and comorbidity, the authors explored potential risk factors for
Method: A consecutive sample of Brazilian
treatment-seeking pathological gamblers (DSM-IV criteria) was
recruited. Genders were contrasted regarding comorbidity and
gambling behavior, controlling for demographics, gambling
severity, and previous access to mental health services.
Results: Seventy female gamblers and 70
male gamblers were interviewed. A greater proportion of women
than men reported electronic bingo and video lottery terminals as
their main type of gambling. Gambling was divided in 3
progressive stages: "social gambling," "intense
gambling," and "problem gambling." Faster
progression for female gamblers was confirmed; female gender and
preference for electronic bingo and/or video lottery terminals
were risk factors for telescoping throughout all stages. Female
gamblers presented a higher comorbidity with depression, whereas
male gamblers had higher rates of alcohol dependence.
Nevertheless, comorbidity profiles were not related to gambling
Conclusion: Two factors could be at play for
treatment-seeking female gamblers in Brazil: (1) a potential
gender vulnerability and (2) a cultural environment yielding them
access to a narrower range of gambling games that includes mainly
the most addictive ones.