• Alcohol;
  • egocentric;
  • pathological gambling;
  • social network analysis;
  • tobacco



To apply social network analysis (SNA) to investigate whether frequency and severity of gambling problems were associated with different network characteristics among friends, family and co-workers is an innovative way to look at relationships among individuals; the current study was the first, to our knowledge, to apply SNA to gambling behaviors.


Egocentric social network analysis was used to characterize formally the relationships between social network characteristics and gambling pathology.


Laboratory-based questionnaire and interview administration.


Forty frequent gamblers (22 non-pathological gamblers, 18 pathological gamblers) were recruited from the community.

Measurements and Findings

The SNA revealed significant social network compositional differences between the two groups: pathological gamblers (PGs) had more gamblers, smokers and drinkers in their social networks than did non-pathological gamblers (NPGs). PGs had more individuals in their network with whom they personally gambled, smoked and drank than those with who were NPG. Network ties were closer to individuals in their networks who gambled, smoked and drank more frequently. Associations between gambling severity and structural network characteristics were not significant.


Pathological gambling is associated with compositional but not structural differences in social networks. Pathological gamblers differ from non-pathological gamblers in the number of gamblers, smokers and drinkers in their social networks. Homophily within the networks also indicates that gamblers tend to be closer with other gamblers. This homophily may serve to reinforce addictive behaviors, and may suggest avenues for future study or intervention.