Objective: Wives of pathological gamblers tend to endure long marriages despite financial and emotional burden. Difficulties in social adjustment, personality psychopathology, and comorbidity with psychiatric disorders are pointed as reasons for remaining on such overwhelming relationships. The goal was to examine the social adjustment, personality and negative emotionality of wives of pathological gamblers. Method: The sample consisted of 25 wives of pathological gamblers, mean age 40.6, SD = 9.1 from a Gambling Outpatient Unit and at GAM-ANON, and 25 wives of non-gamblers, mean age 40.8, SD = 9.1, who answered advertisements placed at the Universidade de São Paulo hospital and medical school complex. They were selected in order to approximately match demographic characteristics of the wives of pathological gamblers. Subjects were assessed by the Social Adjustment Scale, Temperament and Character Inventory, Beck Depression Inventory and State-Trait Anxiety Inventory. Results: Three variables remained in the final Multiple Logistic Regression model, wives of pathological gamblers presented greater dissatisfaction with their marital bond, and higher scores on Reward Dependence and Persistence temperament factors. Both, Wives of pathological gamblers and wives of non-gamblers presented well-structured character factors excluding personality disorders. Conclusion: This personality profile may explain wives of pathological gamblers emotional resilience and their marriage longevity. Co-dependence and other labels previously used to describe them may work as a double edged sword, legitimating wives of pathological gamblers problems, while stigmatizing them as inapt and needy.
Pathological gambling; Spouses; Social adjustment; Personality; Depression