A Network Approach of Gambling Disorder Profile with and Without Related Illegal Acts

Roser Granero, Fernando Fernández-Aranda, Rocío Elena Ayala-Rojas, Javier Tapia, Roser Nadal, Gastón Vinet-Valdebenito, Magda Rosinska, Susana Jiménez-Murcia*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Gambling disorder (GD) is a complex mental health condition that can cause many severe psychological, physical, and social impairment. Illegal acts have been recognized in quite a few cases because of the debts related with the gambling activity. This study used network methodology to visualize the relationships among patients seeking treatment for gambling related problems, separately for the patients with and without illegal behaviors. The aim is to identify the diverse and differentiate mechanisms, as well as the central nodes, that occur within GD patients depending on the presence/absence of illegal acts. The sample included N = 401 patients (age range 18 to 80 years). Network analysis was performed considering the nodes that measure gambling features (the core symptoms based on the DSM-5 taxonomy, global symptom severity, and forms of gambling), psychopathology distress, substance use (tobacco, alcohol, and illegal drugs), and personality traits. Two separate networks were adjusted for patients with illegal acts (n = 105) and without these behaviors (n = 296). The most relevant nodes among patients with GD plus illegal acts were self-transcendence and the GD DSM-5 symptom “A7-lies to conceal the extent of gambling” (these variables were also identified as the bridge nodes, those with the highest linkage capacity). Among the patients with GD without illegal acts, the node with the greatest authority was the GD DSM-5 symptom “A5-often gambles when feeling distressed” (this was also the variable with the highest linkage capacity). The study provides empirical evidence of the most relevant features and the linkage capacity among patients seeking treatment for problematic gambling, which can support the development of precise plans for treatment and prevention of the risk of GDRIA.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages25
JournalInternational Journal of Mental Health and Addiction
Early online dateNov 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 27 Nov 2023

Keywords

  • Gambling disorder
  • Illegal acts
  • Network
  • Nodes
  • Personality

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