Ponti, L., Ilari, A., & Tani, F. (2019). Pathological gambling and romantic relationships: The perception of the members of the couple regarding the quality of their relationship. Current Psychology, 1-8.
Pathological gambling is a relevant condition that negatively affects the family system of gamblers. The aim of the present study was to explore the specific qualitative aspects of romantic relationship and the style of romantic attachment of pathological gamblers and their partners. Thirty-five couples with a partner that had been diagnosed with Gambling Disorder and 45 control couples were recruited for the present study. All participants filled out a battery of questionnaires aimed at assessing the quality of their couple relationship and their romantic attachment. A series of multivariate analyses of variance (MANOVA) were conducted. Results showed that both pathological gamblers and their partners reported a worse quality of their romantic relationship than partners of a control group, but this is stronger especially for partners of pathological gamblers. In fact, pathological gamblers reported higher levels of conflict and lower levels of help and security than partners of the control group. Indeed, partners of pathological gamblers reported a worse quality of couple relationship on all dimensions investigated: they reported higher levels of conflict and lower levels of companionship, help, security, and closeness than partners involved in a relationship with non-pathological gamblers. Moreover, both pathological gamblers and their partners reported a more insecure romantic attachment, both anxious and avoidance, than did partners of the control group. Limitations, strengths, and theoretical and clinical implications are discussed.