The Longitudinal Relationships Between Psychiatric Disorders and Gambling Disorders

  • Melanie Hartmann
  • Alex Blaszczynski
Original Article


The literature has consistently reported an association between gambling disorders and various comorbid psychiatric and substance conditions. The majority of studies have been cross-sectional in nature, and therefore fail to describe the temporal sequences between these conditions. To investigate these temporal sequences we conducted a scoping review of empirical longitudinal studies that have explored the relationships between gambling disorders and comorbid psychiatric disorders, including any mood and anxiety disorders, suicidal ideations and attempts, and illicit substance, nicotine and alcohol use and dependence. A search was conducted for peer reviewed and unpublished articles, and government reports published between January 2000 and March 2015, with a main focus on the temporal sequence between these two conditions. Studies were only included if they were in English, prospective in nature, studied treatment and population samples and included any form of gambling. A total of 35 publications were identified and the findings discussed in terms of three populations: (i) specific populations, (ii) children, adolescents, and young adults, and (iii) adults. On the basis of these longitudinal findings it is suggested that psychiatric disorders can represent both a precursor and a consequence of problem gambling, and that there are underlying interactive factors, such as impulsivity that can predict and drive both temporal sequences. Screening for comorbid psychiatric conditions upon entering treatment for problem gambling should form an integral part of clinical assessments. However, the extent to which comorbid conditions contribute causally to the development of gambling disorders remains to be conclusively established.


Problem gambling Comorbid psychiatric conditions Longitudinal Mental health Scoping review 



This work was supported by a philanthropic grant provided by The Registered Clubs Association of New South Wales (Clubs NSW), Australia.

Author’s Contributions

All authors contributed substantially to 1) the literature review, including searching for, collating and critically analysing research articles; 2) the drafting and revision of the manuscript; and 3) have read and approved the current version of the manuscript to be published.

Compliance with Ethical Standards


Melanie Hartmann has no financial disclosures to declare.

Dr Blaszczynski has had financial professional dealings with the gambling industry and various State and Federal governments directly and indirectly over the last 3 years including research funding, personal fees for professional consultancy, honoraria for grant reviews and theses examination, royalties for published books, and funding and expenses covered to attend and present at conference and government meetings from:

• Gambling industry operators including La Loterie Romande (Switzerland), Svenska Spel (Sweden), Club NSW (Australia), Comelot (UK), La Française des Jeux (France), Loto-Québec (Québec, Canada), Casino Austria, National Lottery (Belgium), Sportsbet, British Columbia Lottery Corporation, Aristocrat Leisure Industries

• Organisations that are funded directly or indirectly from the gambling industry or levies on the gambling industry including the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation, Ontario Problem Gambling Research Centre, the Responsible Gambling Trust, Manitoba Gambling Research Program, Ministerial Expert Advisory Group (Federal Government), and honoraria and expense reimbursement for training programs and workshops conducted from government funded problem gambling counselling services

• Government funded agencies including the NSW Office of Liquor, Gaming, & Racing, Australian Institute of Family Studies, Gambling Research Australia, Australian Department Social Services

• Non-industry or government agencies including the National Association for Gambling Studies, National Council on Problem Gambling, Le Comité d’organisation Congrès international sur les troubles addictifs

All professional dealings have been conducted with the aim of enhancing responsible gambling and harm minimisation policies and practices, training counsellors in the treatment interventions, and advancing our understanding of the psychology of gambling.

Competing Interests

The authors declare that there are no competing interests in the preparation of this manuscript.


We confirm that this work is original and has not been published elsewhere, nor is it currently under consideration for publication by another journal.

With the submission of this manuscript we declare that:

• All authors of this research paper have directly participated in the planning, execution, or analysis of this study;

• All authors of this paper have read and approved the final version submitted;

• The contents of this manuscript have not been copyrighted or published previously;

• The contents of this manuscript are original and not now under consideration for publication elsewhere;

• The contents of this manuscript will not be copyrighted, submitted, or published elsewhere, while acceptance by the Journal is under consideration;

• There are no directly related manuscripts or abstracts, published or unpublished, by any authors of this paper;

• The manuscript has not been submitted to more than one journal for simultaneous consideration;

• The manuscript has not been published previously (partly or in full);

• No data have been fabricated or manipulated (including images) to support your conclusions;

• No data, text, or theories by others are presented as if they were the author’s own (“plagiarism”);


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Responsible Gambling Research GroupBrain and Mind CentreCamperdownAustralia

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