Design and Methods of the New Zealand National Gambling Study, a Prospective Cohort Study of Gambling and Health: 2012–2019

By Abbott, M., Bellringer, M., Garrett, N., & Kolandai-Matchett, K.

Abstract: This paper describes the design, sampling, recruitment, and data analysis of the prospective, nationally representative New Zealand National Gambling Study. Particular aspects of the study were critical for its success as a longitudinal epidemiologic study, making its methodology beneficial for replication in other jurisdictions. At baseline (2012), 6251 adults were interviewed and followed-up in 2013, 2014, and 2015. An additional cohort of 106 moderate-risk/problem gamblers interviewed at baseline (2014–2015) and follow-up (2015–2016) increased the number of these groups in the study. Measures included gambling commencement, gambling frequency, gambling risk levels, at-risk and problem gambling development (incidence), comorbidity, problem gambling cessation, and relapse. Future stages include a follow-up assessment in 2019 and a qualitative study. The study design enables assessment of population and individual level changes and transitions over time, identification of risk and protective factors, and comparisons with previous similarly designed prospective studies. Methods for enhancing response rates and retention are discussed.

Abbott, M., Bellringer, M., Garrett, N., & Kolandai-Matchett, K. (2017). Design and Methods of the New Zealand National Gambling Study, a Prospective Cohort Study of Gambling and Health: 2012–2019. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 15(6), 1242–1269. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11469-017-9843-y

 

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A Comparison of Online Versus Offline Gambling Harm in Portuguese Pathological Gamblers: An Empirical Study

By Hubert, P., & Griffiths, M. D.

Abstract: Over the past decade, gambling has become a very popular activity across Europe including the growth of Internet gambling. Portugal is one of the few European countries where little research has been carried out. Given the lack of studies, a Portuguese sample (N = 1,599) was surveyed concerning their online and offline gambling habits. More specifically, the aim of this study was to identify and compare from the total sample, online pathological gamblers (PGON) (n = 171) and offline pathological gamblers’ (PGOF) (n = 171) characteristics, and eventual risk factors for the development of problem gambling. Results demonstrated that PGON had different profiles compared to PGOF, although there were also similarities. Situational characteristics were much more significant for PGON than PGOF (e.g., availability, accessibility, affordability), but PGOF had higher scores than PGON on factors concerning individual characteristics (e.g., intensity of feelings while gambling, depression, suicidal ideation, etc.). Findings also showed differences concerning attitudes toward responsible gambling measures. The fact that situational characteristics are more attractive to online gamblers confirms differences between PGON and PGOF and suggests that this preferred attractiveness may enhance problem gambling potential. Further research is needed to better understand the interaction between Internet situational characteristics and the individual characteristics of gamblers, as well as the profile of the growing population of gamblers that uses both online and offline modes to gamble.

Hubert, P., & Griffiths, M. D. (2017). A Comparison of Online Versus Offline Gambling Harm in Portuguese Pathological Gamblers: An Empirical Study. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11469-017-9846-8Hubert, P., & Griffiths, M. D. (2017). A Comparison of Online Versus Offline Gambling Harm in Portuguese Pathological Gamblers: An Empirical Study. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11469-017-9846-8

 

A Pilot Evaluation of a Tutorial to Teach Clients and Clinicians About Gambling Game Design

By Turner, N. E., Robinson, J., Harrigan, K., Ferentzy, P., & Jindani, F.

Abstract: This paper describes the pilot evaluation of an Internet-based intervention, designed to teach counselors and problem gamblers about how electronic gambling machines (EGMs) work. This study evaluated the tutorial using assessment tools, such as rating scales and test of knowledge about EGMs and random chance. The study results are based on a number of samples, including problem gambling counselors (n = 25) and problem gamblers (n = 26). The interactive tutorial was positively rated by both clients and counselors. In addition, we found a significant improvement in scores on a content test about EGM games for both clients and counselors. An analysis of the specific items suggests that the effects of the tutorial were mainly on those items that were most directly related to the content of the tutorial and did not always generalize to other items. This tutorial is available for use with clients and for education counselors. The data also suggest that the tutorial is equally effective in group settings and in individual settings. These results are promising and illustrate that the tool can be used to teach counselors and clients about game design. Furthermore, research is needed to evaluate its impact on gambling behavior.

Turner, N. E., Robinson, J., Harrigan, K., Ferentzy, P., & Jindani, F. (2017). A Pilot Evaluation of a Tutorial to Teach Clients and Clinicians About Gambling Game Design. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11469-017-9816-1

 

An Exploratory Study of the Impacts of Gambling on Affected Others Accessing a Social Service

Jason Landon, Elizabeth Grayson, Amanda Roberts

Problem gambling affects many people beyond the problem gambler themselves. Help-seeking is relatively rare among affected others, especially those in lower socio-economic communities. However, these affected others are sometimes in contact with other support agencies. The present research interviewed 10 people seeking support through a social agency who reported being affected by someone else’s gambling. Data from semi-structured interviews were analysed using an inductive descriptive approach to identify three themes: (1) This is ugly, (2) It affects everything and (3) I just do it by myself. The results highlight the normality of harmful gambling across generations, the lack of any positive aspects to gambling for affected others and the impacts on families and children. Specific gambling-related help-seeking remains rare; however, the opportunity to provide support, information and advice on approaches to coping to affected others as they contact social services is highlighted.

The “Walk of Shame”: a Qualitative Study of the Influences of Negative Stereotyping of Problem Gambling on Gambling Attitudes and Behaviours

By Helen E. Miller, Samantha Thomas.

Problem gambling is known to be associated with significant stigma, but there is limited research on the negative stereotypes that underpin this judgement. Understanding the stereotypes that contribute to the stigmatisation of problem gambling may help to identify new approaches to reducing gambling stigma. Using data collected during 100 in-depth qualitative interviews with gamblers in Victoria, Australia, we explored factors which underpin negative stereotypes about people with gambling problems, the influence of negative stereotypes on behaviours and attitudes and differences in attitudes to different gambling products. Participants perceived that people with gambling problems were lacked responsibility and control, as were “lazy”, “stupid” and “greedy.” Electronic gambling machine (EGM) gamblers were particularly stigmatised. Negative stereotypes focusing on personal responsibility led to feelings of guilt and shame in people with gambling problems, as well as increased social isolation, and also impacted on moderate-risk gamblers, who contrasted their own behaviour with a stereotyped idea of a person with a gambling problem. Participants linked stereotyped portrayals of problem gambling to discussions of the gambling industry, which they perceived focused on control and responsibility, and the media, which they perceived emphasised extreme negative consequences from gambling. This study suggests that negative stereotypes focusing on personal responsibility for gambling problems are a factor leading to the stigmatisation of people with gambling problems.

The Longitudinal Relationships Between Psychiatric Disorders and Gambling Disorders

Hartmann, M. & Blaszczynski, A.

The literature has consistently reported an association between gambling disorders and various comorbid psychiatric and substance conditions. The majority of studies have been cross-sectional in nature, and therefore fail to describe the temporal sequences between these conditions. To investigate these temporal sequences we conducted a scoping review of empirical longitudinal studies that have explored the relationships between gambling disorders and comorbid psychiatric disorders, including any mood and anxiety disorders, suicidal ideations and attempts, and illicit substance, nicotine and alcohol use and dependence. A search was conducted for peer reviewed and unpublished articles, and government reports published between January 2000 and March 2015, with a main focus on the temporal sequence between these two conditions. Studies were only included if they were in English, prospective in nature, studied treatment and population samples and included any form of gambling. A total of 35 publications were identified and the findings discussed in terms of three populations: (i) specific populations, (ii) children, adolescents, and young adults, and (iii) adults. On the basis of these longitudinal findings it is suggested that psychiatric disorders can represent both a precursor and a consequence of problem gambling, and that there are underlying interactive factors, such as impulsivity that can predict and drive both temporal sequences. Screening for comorbid psychiatric conditions upon entering treatment for problem gambling should form an integral part of clinical assessments. However, the extent to which comorbid conditions contribute causally to the development of gambling disorders remains to be conclusively established.

Hartmann, M. & Blaszczynski, A. Int J Ment Health Addiction (2016). doi:10.1007/s11469-016-9705-z

The Case for Using Personally Relevant and Emotionally Stimulating Gambling Messages as a Gambling Harm-Minimisation Strategy (open access)

Harris, A., Parke, A., & Griffiths, M. D.
Emotions typically exert powerful, enduring, and often predictable influences over decision-making. However, emotion-based decision-making is seen as a mediator of impulsive and reckless gambling behaviour, where emotion may be seen as the antithesis of controlled and rational decision-making, a proposition supported by recent neuroimaging evidence. The present paper argues that the same emotional mechanisms can be used to influence a gambler to cease gambling, by focusing their emotional decision-making on positive external and personally relevant factors, such as familial impact or longer term financial factors. Emotionally stimulating messages may also have the advantage of capturing attention above and beyond traditionally responsible gambling messaging. This is important given the highly emotionally aroused states often experienced by both gamblers and problem gamblers, where attentional activation thresholds for external stimuli such as messages may be increased.