Telescoping phenomenon in pathological gambling: Association with gender and comorbidities

Abstract

The course of pathological gambling (PG) in women has been described as having a later age of initiation but a shorter time to problematic gambling ("telescoped"). This study examined evidence for telescoping and its relationship with comorbidities. Seventy-one treatment-seeking individuals with PG underwent a diagnostic interview to examine gambling behaviors, age at initiation of gambling, and time from initiation to meeting criteria for PG. The women had a higher mean age at gambling initiation compared with that of the men (mean [SD] age, 31.3 [13.0] years, compared with 22.4 [7.9] years; p = 0.0003) and a significantly shorter time from initiation of gambling to meeting the criteria for PG (8.33 [8.7] years compared with 11.97 [9.1] years; p = 0.0476) after controlling for demographic and clinical variables. This study presents evidence for a gender-specific course of PG unrelated to psychiatric comorbidities and suggests a need for greater clinical focus on the gender differences of gambling behavior.

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