A meta-analysis examining the relations among pathological gambling, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and obsessive-compulsive traits (2008)

Psychol Rep. 2008 Oct;103(2):485-98.

Durdle H, Gorey KM, Stewart SH.


Department of Psychology, University of Windsor.


Pathological gambling has been proposed to belong to the obsessive-compulsive spectrum of disorders. Disorders on this spectrum are thought to share similar clinical features, neurobiology, and responses to treatment as Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. A total of 18 studies were included in a meta-analysis to assess the strength of the association between these disorders. A strong relationship (effect size = 1.01) was found between pathological gambling and obsessive-compulsive traits. A weak relationship was found between pathological gambling and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (.07) and Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder (effect size = .23). These results suggest pathological gambling and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder are distinct disorders. However, pathological gamblers do appear to show high rates of obsessive-compulsive traits relative to controls. These findings are only moderately supportive of the inclusion of pathological gambling within the obsessive-compulsive spectrum of conditions.