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26 October 2011

The relationship of pathological gambling to criminality behavior in a sample of Polish male offenders

Beata Pastwa-Wojciechowska

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.882054

Med Sci Monit 2011; 17(11): CR669-675

Abstract

Background: Severe problem gambling is most often related to income producing offences such as larceny and embezzlement. In addition, the high rate of relapse to gambling problems and the link between gambling debts and crime have clinical, forensic and penitentiary implications. Considering the data from the literature presented here I decided to form and empirically verify a hypothesis that incarcerated men with a diagnosis of pathological gambling are characterized by psychopathic personality disorders, alcohol problems and criminality.
Material/Methods: The groups of participants encompassed 90 men 26–52 years of age, serving a criminal sentence. All participants had to fulfil the following clinical criteria: a) be interviewed by a psychiatrist and diagnosed with pathological gambling and/or antisocial personality disorders b) obtain a result in the PCL-R test; c) estimate the relationship between gambling problems and crime. Taking into consideration the abovementioned criteria three patient test groups were formed: Group 1, which included those for whom gambling had led to crime; Group 2, where gambling was a part of a criminal lifestyle, and Group 3, in which the mutual relationship between gambling and crime was unclear.
Results: The participants were diagnosed as pathological gamblers (DSM-IV-TR, ICD-10) and psychopaths (PCL-R). Those tested differed with regard to the intensification of the personality disturbance tested, the co-occurrence of other disturbances, particularly psychoactive addictions, the motivations for taking up gambling, and the type of criminal activity.
Conclusions: The hypothesis was confirmed that incarcerated men with a diagnosis of pathological gambling are characterized by psychopathic personality disorders, alcohol problems and criminality.

Keywords: Interviews as Topic, Gambling - epidemiology, Criminals - psychology, Antisocial Personality Disorder - complications, Alcoholism - complications, Poland - epidemiology, Prisoners - statistics & numerical data, Psychiatric Status Rating Scales

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Medical Science Monitor eISSN: 1643-3750
Medical Science Monitor eISSN: 1643-3750