Subtypes of French Pathological Gamblers: Comparison of Sensation Seeking, Alexithymia and Depression Scores

Journal of Gambling Studies

Abstract  Recent data suggest the importance of identifying subtypes of pathological gamblers. This research studies sensation seeking, alexithymia and depression among a general population of French gamblers who play different types of game. Those games include games available in cafés (two cafés located in Paris suburb) like lottery, scratch-cards, etc., horse betting at the racetrack (five racetracks closest to Paris), slot machines and traditional games (roulette and card games) at the casino of Enghien-les-Bains (casino nearest to Paris). Sensation seeking was measured with the SSS form V, alexithymia with the TAS-20, and depression with the BDI-13. Pathological racetrack gamblers (42 males; mean age 29.1 years), who play active games involving skills, have the highest sensation seeking scores and are the most prone to alexithymia. Pathological gamblers playing the slot machines (12 males; 15 females; mean age 35.7 years) and games available in cafés (57 males; mean age 32.6 years), thus playing passive games that involve chance only, have low sensation seeking scores. Slot machines gamblers display alexithymia and have the highest depression scores. Pathological gamblers playing traditional games (15 males; mean age 37.8 years), games that involve strategy, do not perform well on any of these scales. These findings are consistent with the idea that clinically distinct subgroups of pathological gamblers can be identified. People displaying typical features could be attracted by specific games.
Céline Bonnaire, Catherine Bungener, Isabelle Varescon