New Edition Of The Wager Examines Study Of Personality Subgroups Of Pathological Gamblers

Scientists have proposed an understanding of pathological gambling (PG) as an expression of an underlying addiction syndrome (Shaffer et al., 2004). A syndrome, by definition, is expected to have generally predictable signs and symptoms, though they will vary and may not always be present. Are there definable “types” of people with PG? The most recent edition ofThe WAGER(Worldwide Addiction Gambling Education Report) reviews a study focused on this issue.

This month’s edition ofTheWAGER– Vol. 15(10)reviews a 2010 study published in theCanadian Journal of Psychiatrythat examined the personality variables of 1,171 people seeking treatment for PG in Spain (Alvarez-Moya et al., 2010). The researchers found four subgroups that were composed of people whose personality traits were more similar to each other than to others in the sample. These four groups had varying levels of psychological problems and PG severity with the most disordered meeting the most criteria for PG and the least disordered meeting the fewest PG criteria. For the full review or to access online reviews of research on other addictive disorders, visitThe BASIS (Brief Addiction Science Information Source).

As always, we welcome thoughts and questions in the comments section below.


Alvarez-Moya, E. M., Jiménez-Murcia, S., Aymamí, M. N., Gómez-Peña, M., Granero, R., Santamaría, J., Menchón, J. M., et al. (2010). Subtyping study of a pathological gamblers sample.Canadian Journal of Psychiatry. Revue Canadienne De Psychiatrie,55(8), 498-506.

Shaffer, H. J., LaPlante, D. A., LaBrie, R. A., Kidman, R. C., Donato, A. N., & Stanton, M. V. (2004). Toward a syndrome model of addiction: Multiple expressions, common etiology.Harvard Review of Psychiatry,12, 367-374.

NCRG staffIn the NewsBASISDivision on AddictionsDSMHarvard Medical Schoolnew research