NCRG Conference on Gambling and Addiction

Friday, October 27, 2006

Spotlight on Research: Genetic Links of Disordered Gambling

In research published earlier this year, Dr. Donald W. Black of the University of Iowa found that pathological gambling runs in families. Though clinicians have long suspected that genetics play a role in the development of gambling disorders, Black’s study is the first to confirm that suspicion with solid research.

While Black’s research isn’t the first to examine a connection between heredity and disordered gambling, it is the first study of its kind to include detailed interviews with family members of pathological gamblers. By tracing the families of a group of pathological gamblers and of control subjects, Black discovered, among other findings, that lifetime rates of pathological gambling disorders were significantly higher among the families of pathological gamblers.

Black’s initial study was funded by the NCRG, and now, the National Institute on Drug Abuse is supporting an expanded study in which he will analyze about three times the number of people.

Black will discuss his research and its important implications for the assessment and treatment of pathological gambling during the conference session Runs in the Family: New Research on Genetic Links of Disordered Gambling, scheduled for 11:30 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 13. You can access Black’s full study directly here, or on the Institute for Research on Pathological Gambling and Related Disorders’ NCRG Conference Resource Page. When prompted, please enter the case-sensitive password: institute.


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