Childhood maltreatment in male and female treatment-seeking pathological gamblers

Abstract

Little empirical research has evaluated childhood abuse in pathological gamblers. This study describes results of an analysis of childhood maltreatment histories among 149 pathological gamblers being treated at 1 of 7 gambling treatment programs. Measurements included instruments assessing gambling behavior and the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ; D. P. Bernstein et al., 1994). Women scored higher than men on the overall CTQ scale and subscales measuring childhood physical neglect, emotional abuse, and sexual abuse. Severity of childhood maltreatment was significantly and independently associated with lower age of onset of gambling and increased severity of gambling problems. This study suggests that childhood maltreatment is prevalent in pathological gamblers, especially female gamblers. These results warrant further investigation of the role of childhood maltreatment in the etiology of pathological gambling and its treatment.

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