Moragas L, Granero R, Stinchfield R, Fernandez-Aranda F, Froberg F, Aymami N, Gomez-Pena M, Fagundo AB, Islam MA, del Pino-Gutierrez A, Aguera Z, Savvidou LG, Arcelus J, Witcomb GL, Sauchelli S, Menchon JM, Jimenez-Murcia S. Comparative analysis of distinct phenotypes in gambling disorder based on gambling preferences. BMC Psychiatry. 2015 Apr 15;15:86. doi: 10.1186/s12888-015-0459-0

BACKGROUND: Studies examining gambling preferences have identified the importance of the type of gambling practiced on distinct individual profiles. The objectives were to compare clinical, psychopathological and personality variables between two different groups of individuals with a gambling disorder (strategic and non-strategic gamblers) and to evaluate the statistical prediction capacity of these preferences with respect to the severity of the disorder.

METHOD: A total sample of 2010 treatment-seeking patients with a gambling disorder participated in this stand-alone study. All were recruited from a single Pathological Gambling Unit in Spain (1709 strategic and 301 non-strategic gamblers). The design of the study was cross-sectional and data were collected at the start of treatment. Data was analysed using logistic regression for binary outcomes and analysis of variance (ANOVA) for quantitative responses.

RESULTS: There were significant differences in several socio-demographic and clinical variables, as well as in personality traits (novelty seeking and cooperativeness). Multiple regression analysis showed harm avoidance and self-directedness were the main predictors of gambling severity and psychopathology, while age at assessment and age of onset of gambling behaviour were predictive of gambling severity. Strategic gambling (as opposed to non-strategic) was significantly associated with clinical outcomes, but the effect size of the relationships was small.

CONCLUSIONS: It is possible to identify distinct phenotypes depending on the preference of gambling. While these phenotypes differ in relation to the severity of the gambling disorder, psychopathology and personality traits, they can be useful from a clinical and therapeutic perspective in enabling risk factors to be identified and prevention programs targeting specific individual profiles to be developed.

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