Association of sociodemographic, psychopathological and gambling-related factors with treatment utilization for pathological gambling


Background/Aims: Only a small percentage of pathological gamblers utilizes professional treatment for gambling problems. Little is known about which social and gambling-related factors are associated with treatment utilization. The aim of this study was to look for factors associated with treatment utilization for pathological gambling. Methods: The study followed a sampling design with 3 different recruitment channels, namely (1) a general population-based telephone sample, (2) a gambling location sample and (3) a project telephone hotline. Pathological gambling was diagnosed in a telephone interview. Participants with pathological gambling (n = 395) received an in-depth clinical interview concerning treatment utilization, comorbid psychiatric disorders and social characteristics. Results: Variables associated with treatment were higher age [odds ratio (OR) 1.05, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.03-1.08], an increased number of DSM-IV criteria for pathological gambling (OR 1.34, 95% CI 1.06-1.70), more adverse consequences from gambling (OR 1.10, 95% CI 1.03-1.16) and more social pressure from significant others (OR 1.17, 95% CI 1.07-1.27). Affective disorders were associated with treatment utilization in the univariate analysis (OR 1.81, 95% CI 1.19-2.73), but multivariate analysis showed that comorbid psychiatric disorders were not independently associated. Conclusion: These results indicate that individuals with more severe gambling problems utilize treatment at an older age when more adverse consequences have occurred. Further research should focus on proactive early interventions.

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