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The symptoms of gambling and depression co-occur in adults and both have certain risk factors in common, such as socio-family and impulsivity. Aside from this little is really known about how the course of these problems develop and the co-morbidity of them. Not much is known about the variables that influence these factors having to do with gambling and depression.

Of interest would be the person’s relationships with their significant others like parents and their friends, since research has shown that these relationships moderate the effects of other types of risk factors on problems with gambling and symptoms of depression.

A recent research study was conducted to: (a) identify the developmental course for gambling problems and symptoms of depression, focusing on co-morbidity; (b) evaluate the moderating effects of the quality of relationships with parents and close friends on the association between the common risk factors and the trajectories of problems with gambling and depressive symptoms.

There were 878 men who participated in the study. Predictors were evaluated during their childhoods and teenage years. Gambling and depression symptoms were evaluated in their later adolescence and years of young adulthood. The study revealed four different kinds of gambling problems and symptoms of depression with impulsivity predicting group membership in all types, whereas the quality of their relationship with parents predicted group membership in a depression subgroup.

Additionally, group membership in this latter group of problem gambling and depression seemed to be predicted by the interplay between quality of friendships and socio-family risk. Apparently young men that chronically gamble most likely suffer from depression.

The research study also revealed that boys displaying impulsive behaviors during childhood were more prone to take up gambling later in life. Problems with gambling may be a personal problem somewhat like addiction: once someone becomes hooked on gambling, it is difficult to stop.

In carrying out the study, researchers looked at data on 878 boys in kindergarten going back to 1984. Throughout the years, information on their family life, including the quality of the relationships they had with their parents and friends was gathered. The researchers also looked at how often these boys behaved impulsively.

When the participants in the study reached ages 17, 23 and 28, they were questioned on whether they had problems with gambling and/or depressive symptoms. They found that just 3% of these young men had a chronic problem with gambling. But what they also found was that nearly 75% of those who had a serious gambling problem did suffer from depression. The study also showed that their problems with gambling and depression got worse over time.

Teenagers and young adult men who behave very impulsively were also shown to be more prone to having problems with gambling and depression. Unlike behaviors considered “delinquent”, such as exhibiting violence and committing theft, problems with chronic gambling didn’t resolve themselves or get better as the boys in the study grew older.

The researchers recommended that gambling and depression be treated at the same time as co-occurring disorders. They also said that efforts to intervene early to prevent these problems should focus on certain risk factors, such as behaving impulsively.

If you are experiencing problems with gambling and depression and are interested in receiving intensive treatment, please give us a call.

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