Sex differences in the rates of recovery, treatment-seeking, and natural recovery in pathological gambling: results from an Australian community-based twin survey

Twin Res Hum Genet. 2009 Oct;12(5):425-32. doi: 10.1375/twin.12.5.425.


The aim of this study was to estimate the rates of recovery, treatment-seeking, and natural recovery from pathological gambling (PG) in men and women in a community-based national survey, and to examine the role of gambling problem recognition in recovery from PG. Participants were 4,764 individuals from a community-based Australian national twin registry (104 with a lifetime history of PG) who were administered a structured psychiatric telephone interview. Women were more likely than men to recover from (56% versus 36%; odds ratio = 2.3) and to seek treatment for PG (32% versus 13%; odds ratio = 3.2). Most individuals who recovered from PG did so without treatment (82%), but this was higher among men than among women (92% versus 57%; odds ratio = 5.3). This is the first study to document sex differences in treatment-seeking and recovery from PG. These findings highlight the value in continuing to develop self-help and brief treatments for PG that will appeal to those who are unlikely to seek formal help.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Australia
  • Behavior, Addictive / psychology
  • Data Collection
  • Diseases in Twins / diagnosis
  • Diseases in Twins / epidemiology*
  • Diseases in Twins / therapy
  • Female
  • Gambling* / psychology
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Sex Characteristics*
  • Twins, Dizygotic / psychology
  • Twins, Monozygotic / psychology