Pathological gambling in eating disorders: Prevalence and clinical implications


Objective: Pathological gambling (PG) and eating disorders (ED) rarely co-occur. We explored the prevalence of lifetime PG in ED, compared severity of ED symptoms, personality traits, and psychopathological profiles across individuals with ED and PG (ED + PG) and without PG (ED-PG). Finally, we assessed the incremental predictive value of gender on the presentation of a comorbid PG. Method: A total sample of 1681 consecutively admitted ED patients (1576 females and 105 males), participated in the current study (25 ED + PG and 1656 ED-PG). All participants were diagnosed according to DSM-IV criteria. Assessment measures included the Symptom Checklist and the Temperament and Character Inventory-Revised, as well as other clinical and psychopathological indices. Results: The observed lifetime prevalence of PG was 1.49%. ED subtype was associated with lifetime PG (p = .003), with PG being more frequent in binge eating disorder (5.7%). ED + PG was more prevalent in males than in females (16% vs. 1.26%, respectively). Additionally, ED + PG patients exhibited more impulsive behaviours, lower impulse regulation and higher novelty seeking. Best predictors of ED + PG were novelty seeking (OR 1.030, p = .035), sex (OR 3.295, p = .048) and BMI (OR 1.081, p = .005). Conclusions: Some personality traits (novelty seeking), being male and higher BMI are strongly related to the presence of lifetime PG in specific ED subtypes (namely binge eating disorder). (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved) (journal abstract)

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