Gender-related clinical and neurocognitive differences in individuals seeking treatment for pathological gambling

Jon E. Grant, Samuel R. Chamberlain, Liana R.N. Schreiber, Brian L. Odlaug

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


Objectives: Understanding variations in disease presentation in men and women is clinically important as differences may reflect biological and sociocultural factors and have implications for selecting appropriate prevention and treatment strategies. The aim of this study was to investigate clinical and cognitive differences in treatment-seeking people with pathological gambling as a function of gender. Materials and methods: 501 adult subjects (n = 274 [54.7%] females) with DSM-IV pathological gambling presenting for various clinical research trials over a 9-year period were assessed in terms of sociodemographics and clinical characteristics. A subset (n = 77) had also undertaken neuropsychological assessment with the Stop-signal and set-shift tasks. Results: PG in females was associated with significantly worse disease severity, elevated mood and anxiety scores, and history of affective disorders, later age of study presentation, later age of disease onset, and elevated risk of having a first-degree relative with gambling or alcohol problems. These findings were of small effect size (0.20-0.35). Additionally, PG in females was associated with proportionately more non-strategic gambling with medium effect size (0.61). In contrast, PG in males was associated with a significantly greater lifetime history of an alcohol use disorder and any substance use disorder (small effect sizes 0.22-0.38); and slower motoric reaction times (medium effect size, 0.50). Response inhibition and cognitive flexibility were similar between the groups. Conclusions: These data suggest that important differences exist in the features of pathological gambling in women and men. Findings are of considerable relevance to clinicians and in terms of targeted treatments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1206-1211
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Psychiatric Research
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2012
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research is supported by a Center for Excellence in Gambling Research grant by the Institute for Responsible Gaming and an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) Grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse ( 1RC1DA028279-01 ) to Dr. Grant.

Funding Information:
Disclosures of interest include that Mr. Odlaug has received honoraria from Oxford University Press. Dr. Chamberlain has consulted for Cambridge Cognition, P1Vital, and Shire Pharmaceuticals. Ms. Schreiber has no potential conflicts of interest. Dr. Grant has received research grants from Transcept Pharmaceuticals and Psyadon Pharmaceuticals.

Copyright 2017 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Addiction
  • Cognition
  • Gambling
  • Gender
  • Impulse control disorders
  • Phenomenology


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