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Gambling Addictions in the Family

  • By: Donald W. Black & Martha C. Shaw
  • In: Encyclopedia of Family Health
  • Edited by: Martha Craft-Rosenberg & Shelley-Rae Pehler
  • Subject:Family Health, Family Policy, Family Law

Pathological gambling is a serious health concern that can have negative consequences on marriages, families, and children. Pathological gambling contributes to chaos and dysfunction within the family; disrupts marriages, thereby leading to high rates of separation and divorce; and is associated with child abuse and neglect.

Family of Origin and the Pathological Gambler

Families of pathological gamblers are filled with members who gamble excessively; suffer from depressive and anxiety disorders; and misuse alcohol, drugs, or both. Data from family studies provide insight into the makeup of the gambler's family of origin. For example, Donald W. Black, Patrick O. Monahan, M'Hamed Temkit, and Martha Shaw compared pathological gamblers to controls and assessed their first-degree relatives. The prevalence of problematic gambling was significantly greater in the relatives of ...

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