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University of Iowa News Release

 

Sept. 20, 2007

UI study: pathological gambling has 'serious repercussions'

A recent report by researchers with University of Iowa Health Care shows that pathological gambling (PG) can have widespread negative impact upon gamblers themselves, their spouses and their children.

The research team concluded that pathological gambling is a serious health concern that significantly and seriously affects individuals and society. Their research results appeared in the August 2007 issue of CNS Spectrums, a national journal serving psychiatric specialists.

The researchers reviewed multiple studies that showed PG appears to run in families. Children of pathological gamblers are more likely to become pathological gamblers themselves. Pathological gamblers and members of their families are more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol or be diagnosed with a mental illness such as depression, antisocial personality disorder and generalized anxiety disorder.

Study findings also showed that pathological gamblers are more likely to have financial problems and abuse their partners, which, in turn often leads to a higher divorce rate among couples affected by PG.

Conservative estimates showed that more than 2.5 million young people in the United States are adversely affected by PG. Child abuse and neglect are rampant in the families of pathological gamblers.

The UI team called for additional research to determine the best approach to treat families affected by PG. They say it's especially important to intervene with the children of pathological gamblers in order to interrupt the cycle that often passes PG from one generation to the next.

The authors include Martha Shaw; Kelsie Forbush; Jessica Schlinder; Eugene Rosenman, M.D.; and Donald Black, M.D.

STORY SOURCE: Joint Office for Marketing and Communications, University of Iowa Health Care, 200 Hawkins Drive, Room E110 GH, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1009

MEDIA CONTACT: Tom Moore, UI Health Care, 319-356-3945, thomas-moore@uiowa.edu.