Relationships between problem-gambling severity and psychopathology as moderated by income

Abstract

Background and aims
Problem and pathological gambling have been associated with elevated rates of both Axis-I and Axis-II psychiatric disorders. Although both problem gambling and psychiatric disorders have been reported as being more prevalent among lower income vs. middle/higher income groups, how income might moderate the relationship between problem-gambling severity and psychopathology is incompletely understood. To examine the associations between problem-gambling severity and psychopathology in lower income and middle/higher income groups.

Methods
Data from the first wave of the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC) (n = 43,093) were analyzed in adjusted logistic regression models to investigate the relationships between problem-gambling severity and psychiatric disorders within and across income groups.

Results
Greater problem-gambling severity was associated with increased odds of multiple psychiatric disorders for both lower income and middle/higher income groups. Income moderated the association between problem/pathological gambling and alcohol abuse/dependence, with a stronger association seen among middle/higher income respondents than among lower income respondents.

Discussion and conclusions
The findings that problem-gambling severity is related to psychopathology across income groups suggest a need for public health initiatives across social strata to reduce the impact that problem/pathological gambling may have in relation to psychopathology. Middle/higher income populations, perhaps owing to the availability of more “disposable income,” may be at greater risk for co-occurring gambling and alcohol-use psychopathology and may benefit preferentially from interventions targeting both gambling and alcohol use.

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