Journal of Gambling Studies

, Volume 33, Issue 4, pp 1081–1097 | Cite as

Adaptive and Maladaptive Coping Strategies in Adult Pathological Gamblers and Their Mediating Role with Anxious-Depressive Symptomatology

  • Paula Jauregui
  • Jaione Onaindia
  • Ana Estévez
Original Paper


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.


Pathological gambling Coping Anxiety Depression Adults 



This research was supported by a grant of the Basque Government’s “Programa Predoctoral de Formación de Personal Investigador No Doctor” and University of Deusto’s “Programa de Ayudas para la Formación de Personal Investigador”. The sample was recruited with the help of the Spanish Federation of Rehabilitated Gamblers (FEJAR).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Standards

This study was ethically approved by the Ethics Committee of the University.

Human and Animal Rights

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was requested to participate in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Psychology and EducationUniversity of DeustoBilbaoSpain

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