Journal of Gambling Studies

, Volume 33, Issue 3, pp 841–853 | Cite as

Subtyping Non-treatment-seeking Problem Gamblers Using the Pathways Model

  • Miea Moon
  • Jamey J. Lister
  • Aleks Milosevic
  • David M. Ledgerwood
Original Paper


This study examined whether distinct subgroups could be identified among a sample of non-treatment-seeking problem and pathological/disordered gamblers (PG) using Blaszczynski and Nower’s (Addiction 97:487–499, 2002) pathways model (N = 150, 50% female). We examined coping motives for gambling, childhood trauma, boredom proneness, risk-taking, impulsivity, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and antisocial personality disorder as defining variables in a hierarchical cluster analysis to identify subgroups. Subgroup differences in gambling, psychiatric, and demographic variables were also assessed to establish concurrent validity. Consistent with the pathways model, our analyses identified three gambling subgroups: (1) behaviorally conditioned (BC), (2) emotionally vulnerable (EV), and (3) antisocial-impulsivist (AI) gamblers. BC gamblers (n = 47) reported the lowest levels of lifetime depression, anxiety, gambling severity, and interest in problem gambling treatment. EV gamblers (n = 53) reported the highest levels of childhood trauma, motivation to gamble to cope with negative emotions, gambling-related suicidal ideation, and family history of gambling problems. AI gamblers (n = 50) reported the highest levels of antisocial personality disorder and ADHD symptoms, as well as higher rates of impulsivity and risk-taking than EV gamblers. The findings provide evidence for the validity of the pathways model as a framework for conceptualizing PG subtypes in a non-treatment-seeking sample, and underscore the importance of tailoring treatment approaches to meet the respective clinical needs of these subtypes.


Problem gambling Gambling disorder Subtyping Pathways model Psychiatric 



This research was supported by the Ontario Problem Gambling Research Centre, the Joe Young Sr–Helene Lycaki Funds from the State of Michigan, and the Detroit Wayne Mental Health Authority. Aleks Milosevic collected the data during his doctoral studies at the University of Windsor Department of Psychology. We thank Ron Frisch for his assistance with this study. All authors contributed to writing and data analysis processes during the preparation of this manuscript. All authors have read and approved of this manuscript. There are no conflicts of interest to report.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Substance Abuse Research Division, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral NeurosciencesWayne State University School of MedicineDetroitUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of WindsorWindsorCanada
  3. 3.Wayne State University, School of Social WorkDetroitUSA
  4. 4.Centre for Interpersonal RelationshipsOttawaCanada

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