The study aimed to identify different patterns of gambling activities (PGAs) and to investigate how PGAs differed in gambling problems, substance use outcomes, personality traits and coping strategies. A representative sample of 4989 young Swiss males completed a questionnaire assessing seven distinct gambling activities, gambling problems, substance use outcomes, personality traits and coping strategies. PGAs were identified using latent class analysis (LCA). Differences between PGAs in gambling and substance use outcomes, personality traits and coping strategies were tested. LCA identified six different PGAs. With regard to gambling and substance use outcomes, the three most problematic PGAs were extensive gamblers, followed by private gamblers, and electronic lottery and casino gamblers, respectively. By contrast, the three least detrimental PGAs were rare or non-gamblers, lottery only gamblers and casino gamblers. With regard to personality traits, compared with rare or non-gamblers, private and casino gamblers reported higher levels of sensation seeking. Electronic lottery and casino gamblers, private gamblers and extensive gamblers had higher levels of aggression-hostility. Extensive and casino gamblers reported higher levels of sociability, whereas casino gamblers reported lower levels of anxiety-neuroticism. Extensive gamblers used more maladaptive and less adaptive coping strategies than other groups. Results suggest that gambling is not a homogeneous activity since different types of gamblers exist according to the PGA they are engaged in. Extensive gamblers, electronic and casino gamblers and private gamblers may have the most problematic PGAs. Personality traits and coping skills may predispose individuals to PGAs associated with more or less negative outcomes.
Keywords: Brief Cope; Gambling activities; Gambling disorders; Switzerland; Young men; Zuckerman–Kuhlman Personality Questionnaire.