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Gambling disorder and childhood trauma: A complex association

Horak, N.S.
Eagle, G.
Stein, D.J.
Lochner, C.
Gambling disorder (GD) is classified as a behavioural addiction and has some phenotypic similarities with substance use disorders (SUDs). Childhood adversity and life stressors are associated with increased risk for SUDs in adulthood. However, there is limited research investigating the association between childhood trauma, stressors and behavioural addictions such as GD. In this case-control cross-sectional study, 31 adult patients with GD were compared to 31 matched healthy controls (HCs) in terms of exposure to early adversity using the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ-SF). In addition, past 12-month stressful life event exposure was assessed using the Life Event Stress Scale (LESS) and investigated as a possible moderator of the relationship between childhood trauma and GD by means of a two-way analysis of variance (ANOVA). Logistic regression analyses were used to test if childhood trauma (CTQ-SF) and its subtypes were significant predictors of a diagnosis of GD. Severity of childhood trauma in general, and on all five subtypes, was significantly higher in GD patients compared to HCs. Childhood trauma was a significant predictor of a diagnosis of GD, with physical neglect being the single trauma subtype to significantly increase odds of GD in adulthood. Stressful life events moderated the relationship between childhood trauma and GD, i.e. childhood trauma was significantly higher in GD patients compared to HCs when LESS was low. The findings support a link between childhood trauma and GD, with current stress as a moderating variable, and may be useful for future individualized therapeutic strategies.
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Springer Nature
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Behavioural addictions,Childhood trauma,Gambling disorder,Life events,Stress
Horak NS, Eagle G, Stein DJ, Lochner C. Gambling Disorder and Childhood Trauma: A Complex Association. J Gambl Stud. 2021 Jun;37(2):515-528. doi: 10.1007/s10899-020-09983-w
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