Compulsive Buying Behavior: Characteristics of Comorbidity with Gambling Disorder – Open Access

Compulsive buying behavior (CBB) has begun to be recognized as a condition worthy of attention by clinicians and researchers. Studies on the commonalities between CBB and other behavioral addictions such as gambling disorder (GD) exist in the literature, but additional research is needed to assess the frequency and clinical relevance of the comorbidity of CBB and GD. The aim of the study was to estimate the point-prevalence of CBB+GD in a clinical setting. Data corresponded to n = 3221 treatment-seeking patients who met criteria for CBB or GD at a public hospital unit specialized in treating behavioral addictions. Three groups were compared: only-CBB (n = 127), only-GD (n = 3118) and comorbid CBB+GD (n = 24). Prevalence for the co-occurrence of CBB+GD was 0.75%. In the stratum of patients with GD, GD+CBB comorbidity obtained relatively low point prevalence (0.77%), while in the subsample of CBB patients the estimated prevalence of comorbid GD was relatively high (18.9%). CBB+GD comorbidity was characterized by lower prevalence of single patients, higher risk of other behavioral addictions (sex, gaming or internet), older age and age of onset. CBB+GD registered a higher proportion of women compared to only-GD (37.5 vs. 10.0%) but a higher proportion of men compared to only-CBB (62.5 vs. 24.4%). Compared to only-GD patients, the simultaneous presence of CBB+GD was associated with increased psychopathology and dysfunctional levels of harm avoidance. This study provides empirical evidence to better understand CBB, GD and their co-occurrence. Future research should help delineate the processes through which people acquire and develop this comorbidity.

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