Prevalence and epidemiology of pathological gambling at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth psychiatry clinic

Mil Med. 2007 Jul;172(7):782-6. doi: 10.7205/milmed.172.7.782.


Objective: Gambling has exploded in popularity, but pathological gambling (PG) is infrequently diagnosed. The objectives of this study were to calculate the prevalence of PG in a psychiatry clinic, to determine whether PG is underdiagnosed, and to analyze risk factors for PG.

Methods: A survey was completed by 584 outpatients presenting to the Naval Medical Center Portsmouth psychiatry clinic over 6 months. Epidemiological data, smoking status, and alcohol use were assessed, and the South Oaks Gambling Screen was administered.

Results: The prevalence of PG determined with the South Oaks Gambling Screen was 1.4%. The electronically documented prevalence of PG was 0.04%. Male subjects, smokers, and subjects with an alcohol problem were more likely to have a gambling problem. Active duty members did not have statistically significantly higher rates of PG.

Conclusions: PG is markedly underdiagnosed. Military members are not at elevated risk for PG, relative to their dependents. Further research and greater awareness of PG are needed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Gambling / psychology*
  • Health Surveys
  • Hospitals, Military*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Military Personnel*
  • Military Psychiatry*
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States / epidemiology