Adaptive and Maladaptive Coping Strategies in Adult Pathological Gamblers and Their Mediating Role with Anxious-Depressive Symptomatology
Coping plays a central role in the appearance and persistence of pathological gambling. Anxious and depressive symptomatology also influence pathological gambling and are related to coping. This study aimed to analyze pathological gamblers’ coping strategies and styles, as well as associated anxious and depressive symptomatology. The study sample included 167 male pathological gamblers (mean age = 39.29 years) and 107 non-gamblers (mean age = 33.43 years). Measures of gambling, coping, and anxious and depressive symptomatology were used. Results showed that pathological gamblers’ scored higher in all the maladaptive coping strategies, problem- and emotion-focused disengagement, and disengagement subscales. These subscales also correlated with pathological gambling, and anxious and depressive symptomatology. Pathological gamblers also scored higher in emotional expression and emotion-focused engagement, with no differences in the rest of the adaptive coping strategies. Coping was also found to predict pathological gambling and anxious and depressive symptomatology. It was found that coping mediated the relationship between pathological gambling and anxious symptomatology when controlling for the effect of age. Specifically, social withdrawal and disengagement stood out as mediators. These results provide practical information for use in clinical settings with people diagnosed with pathological gambling.