Few studies investigate gambling problems at the symptom level; even fewer investigate how symptom patterns change throughout the course of a gambling disorder. The current study utilized the National Epidemiological Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC; Grant et al., 2004) to investigate how the specific symptoms of disordered gambling relate to its severity and course. Results demonstrated that symptom patterns and stability changed as the number of symptoms endorsed increased. Symptom patterns varied considerably from prior to past year (PPY) to past year (PY) timeframes. Certain symptoms were more stable than others and held predictive value as markers of emerging pathological gambling (PG). In particular, gambling to escape problems was one of the most stable symptoms and also predictive of progression to PG; reliance on others to support gambling was predictive of progression to PG among participants at-risk for PG. The differential diagnostic value of various reported symptoms, as well as their lack of stability, has implications for both researchers and clinicians. 2009 APA, all rights reserved.
Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 2009, Vol 23, Issue 3, p. 523-533