Mediational Role of Age of Onset in Gambling Disorder, a Path Modeling Analysis


The aim of the study is to assess a mediational pathway, which includes patients’ sex, personality traits, age of onset of gambling disorder (GD) and gambling-related variables. The South Oaks Gambling Screen, the Symptom Checklist (SCL-90-R) and the Temperament and Character Inventory-R were administered to a large sample of 1632 outpatients attending a specialized outpatient GD unit. Sociodemographic variables were also recorded. A Structural Equation Model was adjusted to assess the pathway. Age of onset mediated between personality profile (novelty seeking and self-transcendence) and GD severity and depression symptoms (measured by SCL-90-R). Sex had a direct effect on GD onset and depression symptoms: men initiated the GD earlier and reported fewer depression symptoms. Age of onset is a mediating variable between sex, personality traits, GD severity and depression symptoms. These empirical results provide new evidence about the underlying etiological process of dysfunctional behaviors related to gambling, and may help to guide the development of more effective treatment and prevention programs aimed at high-risk groups such as young men with high levels of novelty seeking and self-transcendence.

Journal of Gambling Studies