The Prevalence and Impact of Major Life Stressors among Pathological Gamblers

The International journal of the addictions 02/1987; 22(1):71-9. DOI: 10.3109/10826088709027414
Source: PubMed


Major traumatic events were discovered in the histories of 23% of pathological gamblers seeking hospital treatment. These high-trauma patients were compared with groups of gambler patients who had experienced insignificant, low, or moderate amounts of life trauma. High-trauma patients tended, as measured by standard psychometrics, to be more depressed, anxious, and avoidant in personality style; they were also more likely to be abusing alcohol or other drugs. In their discussion the authors focus on the concept of learned dysthymia, a chronic state of negative affect related to cumulative life trauma and seemingly instrumental in potentiating addictive euphoria.

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    • "Studies of problem gamblers in treatment have revealed high rates of both trauma from a distressing life event and psychological comorbidity (Petry and Steinburg 2005; Specker et al., 1996). For example, Taber et al., (1987) reported that 39% of participants admitted to an inpatient gambling treatment program had experienced moderate to severe trauma linked to a distressing life event, with those experiencing trauma also reporting higher rates of substance abuse, depression and anxiety than those not experiencing trauma. Clearly, the relationship between problem gambling, co-morbidities and significant life events is complex, with causal directions likely to depend on the nature and severity of the co-morbid condition(s), event(s) and gambling problem, and other individual differences such as social influences and coping ability. "
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    ABSTRACT: This study aimed to explore how gambling involvement and gambling-related problems may be affected by significant life events, psychological co-morbidities and related social factors. Twenty recreational gamblers and 20 people experiencing gambling problems were interviewed, with reflective first-person accounts being analysed to develop a grounded theory. While both groups had experienced various significant life events and psychological co-morbidity, they coped with such events in different ways. The problem gambling group was found to increase their gambling involvement, unlike the recreational gambling group. In contrast to the problem gambling group, most recreational gamblers had strong social support networks and a resilience that helped them cope with significant life events and co-morbidities. A major finding of this study is the importance of resilience and social support when coping with adversity as protective factors against gambling problems. A grounded theory framework is presented as a basis for further research in this area.
    International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction 10/2014; DOI:10.1007/s11469-014-9527-9 · 0.99 Impact Factor
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    • "Overall, there is greater pathology and worse functioning among those with the comorbidity, compared to those with just one of these problem areas. This includes increased depressive, anxiety, and substance abuse symptoms, and a more avoidant personality style (Taber et al. 1987); earlier age of gambling onset and more severe gambling problems (Petry and Steinberg 2005); greater lifetime gambling severity, psychiatric symptom severity, impulsivity, and dissociation (Ledgerwood and Petry 2006a); greater frequency of suicide attempts and drug and alcohol dependence, and more severe psychiatric distress (Kausch et al. 2006); and ''an entrenched gambling culture'' and selfreported desire to escape problems (Biddle et al. 2005). Of particular salience from a public health perspective is that PTSD is known to be understudied, underdiagnosed, and undertreated relative to the more commonly diagnosed mood, anxiety and addictive disorders that so commonly co-occur with it and/or are misdiagnosed instead of it (Davidson 2001; Dansky et al. 1997). "
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    ABSTRACT: This report is the first empirical study to compare pathological gambling (PG), posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and their co-occurrence. The sample was 106 adults recruited from the community (35 with current PG; 36 with current PTSD, and 35 with BOTH). Using a cross-sectional design, the three groups were rigorously diagnosed and compared on various measures including sociodemographics, psychopathology (e.g., dissociation, suicidality, comorbid Axis I and II disorders), functioning, cognition, life history, and severity of gambling and PTSD. Overall, the PG group reported better psychological health and higher functioning than PTSD or BOTH; and there were virtually no differences between PTSD and BOTH. This suggests that it is the impact of PTSD, rather than comorbidity per se, that appears to drive a substantial increase in symptoms. We also found high rates of additional co-occurring disorders and suicidality in PTSD and BOTH, which warrants further clinical attention. Across the total sample, many reported a family history of substance use disorder (59%) and gambling problems (34%), highlighting the intergenerational impact of these. We also found notable subthreshold PTSD and gambling symptoms even among those not diagnosed with the disorders, suggesting a need for preventive care. Dissociation measures had mixed results. Discussion includes methodology considerations and future research areas.
    Journal of Gambling Behavior 12/2010; 27(4):663-83. DOI:10.1007/s10899-010-9230-0 · 1.28 Impact Factor
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    • "Limitations of the studies conducted on pathological gambling and sexual abuse preclude firm conclusions about this higher prevalence. Some studies did not specifically investigate sexual abuse, as it was included in the general category of historical trauma or combined with physical and/or emotional abuse (e.g., Ciarrocchi and Richardson 1989; Taber et al. 1987). The majority of the studies did not include a comparison group (e.g., Boughton and Falenchuk 2007). "
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    ABSTRACT: Child sexual abuse (CSA) lead to short-term sequelae and long-lasting pervasive outcomes. Research has started addressing CSA as a potential risk factor for later addictions, including pathological gambling. Among Aboriginal peoples, it is plausible that the legacy of residential schooling and other historical traumas have led to unresolved grief that contribute to social problems, such as pathological gambling. The purpose of this brief paper is to report on the few available studies examining the connection between CSA and later pathological gambling. Results show that gambling is more prevalent among Aboriginal than non-Aboriginal populations. Although no causal relationship has been confirmed, experiences of CSA may be related to the later development of pathological gambling among the general population as well as among Aboriginal peoples. However, this link appears complex and indirect and future researches are highly needed. Recommendations based on the implications of this link are proposed for prevention, treatment, and research. KeywordsAboriginal peoples-Gambling-Pathological gambling-Child sexual abuse-Trauma-First Nations-Prevalence
    International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction 04/2009; 8(2):174-189. DOI:10.1007/s11469-009-9234-0 · 0.99 Impact Factor
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