Journal of Gambling Studies

, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 5-19

First online:

Obsessive-Compulsive Features in Pathological Lottery and Scratch-Ticket Gamblers

  • Randy O. FrostAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Smith College Email author 
  • , Beth M. MeagherAffiliated withSmith College
  • , John H. RiskindAffiliated withGeorge Mason University

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The results of this study support the notion that pathological gamblers drawn from the community would score higher on all three scores from the YBOCS than light gamblers. Consistent with hypotheses, pathological gamblers (lottery and scratch ticket) reported more obsessions, compulsions, and avoidance behavior than the light gamblers, and also reported having more urges to engage in injurious behaviors to themselves and others. These findings provide evidence that pathological gambling falls in a spectrum or family of disorders which have obsessive-compulsive disorder at its core. These findings support McElroy, Hudson, Philips, et al.'s (1993) suggestions of similarities between OCD and Impulse Control Disorders, and extend Blaszczynski (1999) findings of overlap between pathological gamblers and OCD in a treatment population. Heavy gamblers also reported significantly more hoarding symptoms and compulsive buying than light gamblers. More research in this area may show further evidence of a spectrum of disorders with obsessive compulsive disorder at its core, and show further links between impulse control disorders (such as pathological gambling) and OCD.

gambling obsessive-compulsive disorder hoarding impulse control