The Pathways Model proposes three principal pathways into pathological or problem gambling which is predicated on two principal assumptions. The first is that risk factors can be differentiated into distinct clusters. The second is that certain preexisting individual differences, co-morbidities or circumstances contribute to an increased risk of subsequent gambling-related problems. In this paper, we argue that much of the evidence in support of the Pathways model has principally focused on the first of the assumptions. Research supports the view that there are sub-groups or subtypes of gamblers who approximate the clustering of characteristics postulated by the Pathways Model. However, such evidence does not so readily confirm the second assumption, namely the factors identified are antecedents or causal contributors to the development of gambling problems. In this paper, we examine the types of evidence required to strengthen support for the Model. Important research priorities include the need for additional longitudinal studies into the emergence and influence of risk factors; the relative importance of experiential and dispositional factors; and, being able to show differences in the pattern of associated co-morbidities as distinct from just differences in the severity of gambling disorder across the subtypes.
- Addictive behavior
- pathological gambling