American Psychiatric Association has adopted pathological gambling into its official nomenclature ensures that it will gain attention. In order to move the science forward, there need to be established funding sources that support the development of measurement tools to assess the consequences of each type of gambling activity and that test them in diverse populations, such as among men and women, young and old, rural and urban, and treated and untreated gamblers. Once the psychometric properties of these tools are firmly established, the field can move expeditiously to identify socioenvironmental, genetic, and family risk factors, as well as the neurobiological and molecular mechanisms that figure in the development of pathological gambling.
The committee concludes, from its review and critique of the literature, that the following specific areas are in critical need of immediate research attention:
- Longitudinal research that explores the transition from childhood to adolescence through later adulthood, to determine the natural history of pathological gambling, including initiation, progression, remission, and relapse.
- Research that controls for important sociodemographic variables in the study of risk for initiation into gambling and progression into problem gambling.
- Family and twin studies to determine familial risk factors for pathological gambling.
- Molecular genetic studies searching for genes that affect initiation into gambling and progression to pathological gambling.
- Brain imaging research to document the changes that occur during gambling situations.
- Studies that use adequate and diverse samples (racial or ethnic minorities, women, homeless, elderly, and teen populations, rural/urban).
- Research among individuals and communities that examines the effect of access and availability on gambling behaviors.
- Studies on comorbid gambling disorders (especially with mood disorders, substance use disorders, and ASPD), including onset, remission, symptom clustering, related severities of disor-