WSU Study: Three Categories Of Addicted Gamblers

DETROIT (WWJ) – A new study by researchers at Wayne State University found that addicted gamblers fall into three different groups.  

The first group is called “E-V” or  emotionally vulnerable. The second group is “A-I” or anti-social and compulsive. The third is  “B-C” or behaviorally conditioned. 

Lead researcher David Ledgerwood tells WWJ it is often hard to determine what factors lead addicted gamblers down a dangerous path.

“Not all problem gamblers come in to gambling problems in the same way. Some people gamble as a way to deal with depression. Some people gamble because they’re having trouble putting on the stop signals, you know, stopping their selves. And other people get roped into that first big win,” he said.  

Ledgerwood explained that people in the “anti-social” group often have a history of substance abuse treatment, and could have grown up with a parent who had gambling problems or substance abuse.

People who fall into the “behaviorally conditioned” can get addicted after they hit their first jackpot.

“These are people who don’t have a lot of other problems, like addiction problems or psychological problems,” Ledgerwood said. “They tend to get wrapped up or sort of roped into the contingencies of the game, the rewards of the game. They have a big win early on and then they keep gambling after that and they get into trouble.”

By identifying which group a person falls into, doctors are taking what they hope are the first steps in determining a successful treatment program.

“Different people approach gambling in different ways and what that suggests is that we may need different types of treatment for different types of gamblers,” Ledgerwood said.

  • Marilyn

    The person sitting next to you in church, the man in line at the grocery store, or one of your co-workers; any one of these could be involved with a gambling problem. Imagine your grandmother committing a crime to support her gambling addiction. I am a recovering alcoholic, gambler, and have recovered from other addictive behaviors. I published a book, Gripped by Gambling, where the readers can follow the destructive path of the compulsive gambler, a prison sentence, and then on to the recovery road.

    I recently published a second book, Switching Addictions, describing additional issues that confront the recovering addict. These are two books you might consider adding to your library. I also publish a free online newsletter, Women Helping Women, which has been on-line for more than ten years and is read by hundreds of women (and men) from around the world. ( I was interviewed and appeared on the 60 Minutes show in January 2011, which was moderated by Leslie Stahl.


    Marilyn Lancelot

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