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Gambling and Suicidality in Treatment-Seeking Pathological Gamblers

Ledgerwood, David M. PhD; Petry, Nancy M. PhD

The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease: October 2004 - Volume 192 - Issue 10 - p 711-714
doi: 10.1097/01.nmd.0000142021.71880.ce
Brief Reports

One hundred twenty-five adult participants recruited from gambling treatment centers were included in an examination of gambling-related suicidal ideation and attempt. In this sample, 48% (N = 60) had a history of gambling-related suicidal ideation, and an additional 12% (N = 15) reported at least one gambling-related suicide attempt. Measures of gambling experience, impulsiveness, and dissociation were evaluated across groups. Level of suicidality was associated with greater gambling severity, gambling escape, dissociation and attention seeking, impulsivity, and generalized dissociative experience, but not with other psychological indices such as empathy or venturesomeness. The implications of these findings for the identification and treatment of gamblers at risk for suicide are discussed.

Department of Psychiatry, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, Connecticut.

Supported by NIH grants R01-MH60417, R01-MH60417-suppl, R01-DA13444, P50-AA03510, and P50-DA09241, the Patrick and Catherine Weldon Donaghue Medical Research Foundation, the State of Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services Problem Gambling Services, and the Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling.

Send reprint requests to David M. Ledgerwood, PhD, Department of Psychiatry, University of Connecticut Health Center, 263 Farmington Ave., Farmington, CT 06030-3944.

© 2004 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.