The purpose of this study was to examine the association between childhood maltreatment and gambling disorders, using data from an ongoing longitudinal study of gambling (the Leisure Lifecycle and Lifestyle Project). The study used random digit dialing to recruit participants from the province of Alberta, Canada. The authors examined the responses of 1,145 adult participants who completed the childhood maltreatment measure at baseline and at the 18 month follow up. Although this is a cross-sectional study, the two time points were examined in order to establish test re-test reliability of the maltreatment variable. Data were weighted, making the results estimates of the provincial population. After reviewing the literature, the authors examined a variety of co-variates, including symptoms of alcohol/other drug use disorder or antisocial disorder, characteristics of the family environment, and indicators of psychological stress. The results indicate that childhood maltreatment is associated with higher frequency of gambling and greater likelihood of gambling problems, even after accounting for the individual and social co-variates. Participants who were male, with more antisocial features, alcohol dependence, stress, and poorer family environments were more likely to have severe gambling problems. This study was limited by its use of retrospective reports of maltreatment to estimate absolute prevalence of child abuse and neglect.
Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, Volume 24, Issue 3, pp. 548-554.