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The 10 Most Influential Research Papers on Gambling Disorders

by: Institute Staff | Dec 7, 2010

One way to measure the success of a research study is to calculate its influence on the field. The Web of Science is an online index of peer-reviewed publications that monitors the number of times a particular article is cited in other publications. A count of how many times a paper is referenced can be used as a rough estimation of the impact of a study on the field, although it is not a measure of quality.  What are the top 10 most influential research papers on pathological gambling (PG) from 1965 to the present? See the following list.

1. Lesieur, H. R., & Blume, S. B. (1987). The South Oaks Gambling Screen (SOGS): A new instrument for the identification of pathological gamblers. American Journal of Psychiatry, 144(9), 1184-8.

Times Cited: 659

The SOGS has been the most widely used screening tool for pathological gambling since it was first published in 1987. Screening tools often have very high citation counts because they provide a starting point for research on many diverging aspects of a subject.

2. Shaffer, H. J., Hall, M. N., & Vander Bilt, J. (1999). Estimating the prevalence of disordered gambling behavior in the United States and Canada: A research synthesis. American Journal of Public Health, 89(9), 1369-76.

Times Cited: 266

This synthesis of findings from 119 other studies was the first in 20 years to provide national estimates of the prevalence of gambling disorders for the U.S. and Canada. The study was funded by the National Center for Responsible Gaming.

3. Petry, N. M., Stinson, F. S., & Grant, B. F. (2005). Comorbidity of DSM-IV pathological gambling and other psychiatric disorders: Results from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 66(5), 564-74.

Times Cited: 165

The National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC), the largest prevalence study of psychiatric disorders in the U.S., was one of the first major national health surveys to include questions about gambling. Face-to-face interviews were conducted during 2001 and 2002 with 43,093 U.S. residents aged 18 and older.

4. Dodd, M. L., Klos, K. J., Bower, J. H., Geda, Y. E., Josephs, K. A., & Ahlskog, J. E. (2005). Pathological gambling caused by drugs used to treat Parkinson disease. Archives of Neurology, 62(9), 1377-1381.

Times Cited: 154

This exploratory study was one of the first to identify the connection between pathological gambling and a drug used to treat Parkinson’s Disease.

5. Cunningham-Williams, R. M., Cottler, L. B., Compton, W. M., & Spitznagel, E. L. (1998). Taking chances: Problem gamblers and mental health disorders—results from the St. Louis Epidemiologic Catchment Area Study. American Journal of Public Health, 88(7), 1093-6.

Times Cited: 150

St. Louis, Mo., was one of five sites to participate in the Epidemiologic Catchment Area Study of mental disorders in the general population in 1981. This survey was among the first to provide substantial evidence for the high rate of co-occurring psychiatric disorders with pathological gambling.

6. McCormick, R. A., Russo, A. M., Ramirez, L. F., & Taber, J. I. (1984). Affective disorders among pathological gamblers seeking treatment. The American Journal of Psychiatry, 141(2), 215-218.

Times Cited: 148

This study found a link between PG and affective disorders in a sample of participants in a gambling recovery program at a Virginia hospital.

7. Volberg, R. A. (1994). The prevalence and demographics of pathological gamblers: implications for public health. American Journal of Public Health, 84(2), 237-241.

Times Cited: 147

This study of prevalence in five states found a lot of variation in the availability of gambling and prevalence of pathological gambling, while also finding that the demographics of people with PG were similar from state to state.

8. Blum, K., Sheridan, P. J., Wood, R. C., Braverman, E. R., Chen, T. J., & Comings, D. E. (1995). Dopamine D2 receptor gene variants: association and linkage studies in impulsive-addictive-compulsive behaviour. Pharmacogenetics, 5(3), 121-141.

Times Cited: 139

This study is regarded as a watershed in the emerging study of the neurobiology of gambling disorders. The authors identified genetic variations in a particular neurotransmitter that is common among several disorders involving impulse control, such as pathological gambling, and coined the name “Reward Deficiency Syndrome” to describe this finding.

9. Sylvain, C., Ladouceur, R., & Boisvert, J. M. (1997). Cognitive and behavioral treatment of pathological gambling: a controlled study. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 65(5), 727-732.
Times Cited: 133

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the few treatments to show evidence of effectiveness for gambling disorders. This study was one of the early research projects to document the efficacy of CBT for pathological gambling.

10. Reuter, J., Raedler, T., Rose, M., Hand, I., Gläscher, J., & Büchel, C. (2005). Pathological gambling is linked to reduced activation of the mesolimbic reward system. Nature Neuroscience, 8(2), 147-148.

Times Cited: 128

This study focused on the reward system of those with gambling problems and found similarities in brain chemistry between people with pathological gambling and alcohol/drug use disorders.

*The top 10 studies were identified by searching the Web of Science for the phrase “pathological gambling.” Two studies containing the phrase were excluded because they were not primarily focused on pathological gambling or pathological gamblers. 

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