In both adolescents and adults, gambling problems and depressive symptoms co-occur and share some common risk factors (e.g., impulsivity and socio-family risk).
However, little is known about:
(1) the developmental course of the co-morbidity of these problems;
(2) variables that may moderate the effect of these common risk factors on gambling problems and depressive symptoms. Of specific interest could be individuals’ social relationships with significant others such as parents and friends, because research shows that they moderate the effect of other risk factors on gambling problems and depressive symptoms.
The goals of this study were to:
(a) identify developmental pathways for gambling problems and depressive symptoms, with a focus on co-morbidity;
(b) assess the moderating effect of relationship quality with parents and friends on the link between common risk factors and the trajectories of gambling problems and depressive symptoms. Study participants were 878 males. Predictors were assessed during childhood and adolescence and gambling problems and depressive symptoms were assessed in late adolescence and young adulthood. Latent class analysis revealed four distinct joint trajectories of gambling problems and depressive symptoms. Subsequent logistic regression revealed that impulsivity predicted membership in all pathogenic trajectories, and quality of the relationship with parents predicted membership in depressogenic trajectories. In addition, we found that the membership in the comorbid trajectory can be predicted by an interaction between friendship quality and socio-family risk.