A systematic study of suicidal ideation and behaviour in a cohort of patients with a diagnosis of pathological gambling presenting to a hospital based gambling treatment service

M Battersby, M Scurrah, B Tolchard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objective: The aim of the study was to systematically describe and analyse the 12 month period prevalence of suicidal ideation and behaviour of a cohort of patients who had a diagnosis of pathological gambling.

Method: Seventy-nine people with a diagnosis of pathological gambling received a mailout survey. The survey included four psychometric instruments, a sociodemographic questionnaire and questions on postulated risk factors for suicidal ideation and behaviour. The four psychometric instruments were the modified Suicide Ideation Scale (SIS), the South Oaks Gambling Screen (SOGs), the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and the CAGE.

Results: 54.4% of the surveys were returned completed. 81.4% showed some suicidal ideation and 30.2% reported one or more suicide attempts in the preceding 12 months. Suicidal ideation and behaviours (SIS results) were found to be positively correlated with the SOGs' scores, the presence of debt attributed to gambling and a lifetime period prevalence of alcohol dependence. A BDI score consistent with depression also had a positive association.

Conclusions: This study has implications for managing people with pathological gambling. These people have higher levels of suicidal ideation and behaviour than earlier related studies identified. These patients also have high levels of co-morbidity with depression and alcohol dependence. Subjects most likely to have attempted suicide had high SOGs' and BDI scores, were in debt and had a diagnosis of alcohol dependence.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)A6
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry
Issue numbersup1
Publication statusPublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


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