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Pathological Gambling Does Not Appear Progressive

Psychiatry Res; ePub 2017 Jun 13; Black, et al

Both younger and older persons with pathological gambling (PG) moved toward a reduced level of gambling activity during follow-up in a recent longitudinal study of gambling behavior. The data challenges the notion that PG is chronic and progressive. Researchers evaluated 175 subjects: a case group of 53 older adults with PG (≥60 years), and 2 comparison groups including 72 younger adults with PG (<40 years) and 50 older adults without PG (≥60 years). Subjects were evaluated at intake and reassessed every 6 months and drop outs were replaced. They found:

  • At intake, older adults with PG were more likely to be female, Caucasian, divorced, and to have a lower level of education.
  • Older and younger adults with PG were similar in gambling severity, but the older cohort was more likely to have sought PG treatment.
  • Older adults with PG had lower rates of lifetime drug use disorders, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
  • Older adults with PG preferred slots, were more likely to receive PG treatment, and were less likely to discontinue participation in the study.

Citation:

Black DW, Coryell W, McCormick B, Shaw M, Allen J. A prospective follow-up study of younger and older subjects with pathological gambling. [Published online ahead of print June 13, 2017]. Psychiatry Res. doi:10.1016/j.psychres.2017.06.043.