Pathologic gambling and bankruptcy

Jon E. Grant, Liana Schreiber, Brian L. Odlaug, Suck W Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Background: Although prior studies have examined rates of bankruptcy in pathologic gambling (PG), there are only limited data regarding the clinical correlates of those with PG who declare bankruptcy because of gambling. Method: Five hundred seventeen consecutive subjects with Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, PG (54.7% females; mean age 47.6 years) were grouped into 2 categories: those who had (n = 93; 18.0%) and had not (n = 424; 82.0%) declared bankruptcy secondary to gambling. Groups were compared on clinical characteristics, gambling severity (using the Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale Modified for Pathological Gambling, Gambling Symptom Assessment Scale; Clinical Global Impression-severity scale, and time and money spent gambling), and psychiatric comorbidity. Results: Gamblers who had declared bankruptcy were more likely to be single (P = .004); have an earlier age of problem gambling onset (P = .032); and have more financial (P < .001), work-related (P = .006), marital (P < .001), and legal (P < .001) problems secondary to their gambling. They also reported higher rates of depressive disorders (P < .001), substance use disorders (P = .005) and were more likely to be daily users of nicotine (P = .022). Money spent gambling did not differ significantly between groups. Conclusion: These preliminary results suggest that bankruptcy in PG may be associated with specific clinical differences. Treatment strategies may want to assess bankruptcy status to develop more effective treatments that take account of these clinical differences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115-120
Number of pages6
JournalComprehensive Psychiatry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported in part by a Career Development Award by the National Institute of Mental Health (JEG-K23 MH069754-01A1).


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