Is Subtyping of Gamblers Based on the Pathways Model of Problem and Disordered Gambling Valid? A Systematic Review
Gamblers are a heterogenous group in terms of the presence of comorbid psychopathology, maladaptive personality traits, and motivation to gamble. The Pathways Model, the most promising comprehensive framework to explain this heterogeneity, classifies gamblers into three subtypes. The aim of this review was to determine whether or not subtyping of gamblers based on the Pathways Model of problem and disordered gambling is valid. A literature review was conducted using the following online databases: Academic Search Complete, PubMed, Web of Science, and PsychINFO. Studies were selected or excluded based on meeting predetermined criteria. Fourteen studies examining subtyping of gamblers based on the Pathways Model were reviewed and evaluated. Results suggest that in the adult population there are three subtypes of gamblers that largely coincide with the subtypes defined in the Pathways Model. Of these, the emotionally vulnerable subtype is the most problematic and inconsistent. In contrast, for adolescents, at least four gambler subtypes have been identified. The extant literature on subtyping of gamblers suffers from some severe limitations. Further research is required to fully validate the Pathways Model.