Gambling onset and progression in a sample of at-risk gamblers from the general population

Elizabeth Carneiro, Hermano Tavares, Marcos Sanches, Ilana Pinsky, Raul Caetano, Marcos Zaleski, Ronaldo Laranjeira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The goal of this study was to investigate gambling-related behavior, onset and progression in a sample of at-risk gamblers from the community. A national household survey was conducted in Brazil, covering individuals 14 years old or older. Subjects were screened for at-risk gambling, those testing positive answered a questionnaire about gambling progression, preferred games and DSM-IV pathological gambling criteria. Out of 3007 respondents, 118 were considered at-risk gamblers according to the Lie/Bet Questionnaire. According to the DSM-IV, 32.7% and 24.9% of those were considered problem and pathological gamblers, respectively. Early at-risk gamblers (onset prior to 20 years of age), were more likely to be male, to prefer non-commercially structured games, and to chase losses while gambling. Young pathological gamblers (under 35 years of age) progressed faster from regular to problem gambling (roughly 2 years) than mature pathological gamblers (12 years). Such findings had not been described before because previous reports focused mostly on clinical samples that lack young, male, early-onset gamblers. Gambling programs have not satisfactorily covered this segment of gamblers. Outreach strategies and early interventions should be provided to prevent these individuals from rapidly evolving into pathological gambling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)404-411
Number of pages8
JournalPsychiatry research
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 30 2014


  • Community sample
  • Gambling sub-population
  • Gambling trajectory
  • Pathological gambling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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