An Empirical Study of Personality Disorders Among Treatment-Seeking Problem Gamblers
The primary aims of this study were to examine the prevalence of personality disorders in problem gamblers, to explore the relationship between personality disorders and problem gambling severity, and to explore the degree to which the psychological symptoms highlighted in the biosocial developmental model of borderline personality disorder (impulsivity, distress tolerance, substance use, PTSD symptoms, psychological distress and work/social adjustment) are associated with problem gambling. A secondary aim was to explore the strength of the relationships between these symptoms and problem gambling severity in problem gamblers with and without personality disorder pathology. Participants were 168 consecutively admitted problem gamblers seeking treatment from a specialist outpatient gambling service in Australia. The prevalence of personality disorders using the self-report version of the Iowa Personality Disorders Screen was 43.3 %. Cluster B personality disorders, but not Cluster A or C personality disorders, were associated with problem gambling severity. All psychological symptoms, except alcohol and drug use, were significantly higher among participants with personality disorder pathology compared to those without. Finally, psychological distress, and work and social adjustment were significantly associated with problem gambling severity for problem gamblers with personality disorder pathology, while impulsivity, psychological distress, and work and social adjustment were significantly associated with problem gambling severity for those without personality disorder pathology. High rates of comorbid personality disorders, particularly Cluster B disorders, necessitate routine screening in gambling treatment services. More complex psychological profiles may complicate treatment for problem gamblers with comorbid personality disorders. Future research should examine the applicability of the biosocial developmental model to problem gambling in community studies.
KeywordsProblem gambling Personality disorder Biosocial developmental model Borderline personality disorder
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