[Types of pathological gamblers]

Psychiatr Hung. 2009;24(4):238-47.
[Article in Hu]


Background: Beginning with the end of the total and later on the partial state ban on gambling in Hungary, an increasingly intensive revival of gambling can be observed together with a widening scope of offers. Parallel to the growing popularity of controlled, social and recreational forms of gambling, the spread of excessive, problematic and pathological gambling requiring therapeutic intervention is also present.

Objective: Both from the perspective of research and clinical practice the following questions are raised. Whether there exist subtypes of problematic or pathological gamblers with specific personality characteristics and therefore needs for specific types of treatment, and if it is worth differentiating between gamblers according to their preferences towards specific types of gambling.

Results: One stream of research with the objective of finding subtypes of gambling examines pathological gamblers in general, independent of their gambling preferences. These authors describe subgroups with typical psychological characteristics and they present various possible functions of gambling. On the other hand, data is available supporting that persons with unlike dominant preferences towards different types of gambling can be characterized by dissimilar demographic and psychological indices as well. Authors in these studies present typologies created according to various different aspects in details.

Conclusion: Based on studies aiming to create a typology of gambling addicted patients and discover their motives, we can assume that the escape gambler and the impulsive gambler types can most unequivocally be differentiated. Besides these, studies suggest the existence of two other types of gamblers; normal and ones seeking the experience of dissociation. On the personality characteristics of gamblers playing specific types of games, however, there is little data available yet.

Publication types

  • English Abstract
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Behavior, Addictive / classification*
  • Behavior, Addictive / epidemiology
  • Behavior, Addictive / psychology*
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Cognition
  • Female
  • Gambling / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Hungary / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Personality
  • Recreation
  • Sex Factors
  • Stress, Psychological
  • United States / epidemiology