Problem gambling is often accompanied by co-morbid psychiatric disorders and maladaptive personality traits. Subtyping gamblers based on these pervasive comorbidities has been attempted so as to aid understanding of the aetiology of problem gambling and inform treatment options. However, there has been less focus on subtyping gamblers with (past or current) or without a history of problem gambling, or on providing more specific treatment or self-help recommendations. The current study sought to subtype current-, past-, and non-problem gamblers using three common comorbidities; psychological distress, risky alcohol use, and impulsivity. Participants' endorsement of helpful behaviour change strategies was also examined by subtype membership. A total of 385 participants were recruited who had a current gambling problem (n = 128; 33%), a past gambling problem (n = 131, 34%) or never had a gambling problem (n = 126, 33%). Hierarchical cluster analysis identified distinct subtypes of current (i.e., low comorbidity, high psychological distress, risky alcohol use and high comorbidity), past (i.e., low comorbidity, high psychological distress and high comorbidity) and non-problem gamblers (i.e., low comorbidity, high psychological distress, risky alcohol use and moderate impulsivity). The most helpful change strategies for current and past gamblers were similar across subtypes (i.e., accept that gambling needs to change, remind yourself of the negative consequences). Non-problem gamblers reported the most helpful strategy as setting financial limits. This study indicated that treatment of psychological distress, risky alcohol use or impulsivity may be important for all gamblers regardless of their level of risk.
- Behaviour change