21.01.2021 | Original Paper
Are Comorbid Disorders Associated with Changes in Gambling Activity? A Longitudinal Study of Younger and Older Subjects with DSM-IV Pathological Gambling
Journal of Gambling Studies
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This study investigates the association of comorbid disorders with gambling activity in a longitudinal follow-up study of younger and older adult subjects with DSM-IV pathological gambling (PG). The subjects included 57 younger adults with PG (≥ 18/ < 40 years) and 48 older adults with PG (≥ 60 years). Subjects were assessed at baseline and every 6 months for a mean (SD) of 31.4 (13.1) months. Comorbidity was assessed using a modification of the Longitudinal Interval Follow-up Evaluation (LIFE). During follow-up, rates of problem severity were highest for anxiety disorders, mood disorders, and impulse control disorders. Among all subjects with PG, greater severity of depression or posttraumatic stress disorder was associated with increased gambling activity. In older subjects, greater severity of agoraphobia and social phobia were associated with lowered gambling activity. In younger subjects, greater severity of any substance use disorder, an alcohol use disorder, or compulsive computer use were associated with lowered gambling activity. The latter findings provide presumptive evidence for the substitute addiction hypothesis. We conclude that increased severity of several comorbid disorders could serve as triggers for increased gambling or predict lowered gambling activity. On the other hand, certain comorbid disorders could be triggered by increased gambling activity. Knowing these interrelationships is important to gaining a better understanding of PG and its clinical management.