Clustering Treatment Outcomes in Women with Gambling Disorder

J Gambl Stud. 2022 Dec;38(4):1469-1491. doi: 10.1007/s10899-021-10092-5. Epub 2021 Dec 21.


The rising prevalence of gambling disorder (GD) among women has awakened considerable interest in the study of therapeutic outcomes in females. This study aimed to explore profiles of women seeking treatment for GD based on a set of indicators including sociodemographic features, personality traits, clinical state at baseline, and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) outcomes. Two-step clustering, an agglomerative hierarchical classification system, was applied to a sample of n = 163 women of ages ranging from 20 to 73 years-old, consecutively attended to by a clinical unit specialized in the treatment of G. Three mutually exclusive clusters were identified. Cluster C1 (n = 67, 41.1%) included the highest proportion of married, occupationally active patients within the highest social status index. This cluster was characterized by medium GD severity levels, the best psychopathological functioning, and the highest mean in the self-directedness trait. C1 registered 0% dropouts and only 14.9% relapse. Cluster C2 (n = 63; 38.7%) was characterized by the lowest GD severity, medium scores for psychopathological measures and a high risk of dropout during CBT. Cluster C3 (n = 33; 20.2%) registered the highest GD severity, the worst psychopathological state, the lowest self-directedness level and the highest harm-avoidance level, as well as the highest risk of relapse. These results provide new evidence regarding the heterogeneity of women diagnosed with GD and treated with CBT, based on the profile at pre- and post-treatment. Person-centered treatments should include specific strategies aimed at increasing self-esteem, emotional regulation capacities and self-control of GD women.

Keywords: Clustering; Cognitive behavioral therapy; Gambling disorder; Survival analysis; Women.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Female
  • Gambling* / psychology
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Personality
  • Recurrence
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult