A prospective follow-up study of younger and older subjects with pathological gambling

By Donald W. Black, William Coryell, Brett McCormick, Martha Shaw, and Jeff Allen.

Pathological gambling (PG) is a common and costly public health problem associated with impaired quality of life and high suicide rates. Despite its frequency in the general population, PG course is poorly understood in older adults who are especially vulnerable to its devastating consequences. We enrolled 175 subjects in a longitudinal study of gambling behavior: our case group of 53 older adults with PG (≥ 60 years), and two comparison groups including 72 younger adults with PG (< 40 years) and 50 older adults without PG (≥ 60 years). Subjects with PG met lifetime criteria for DSM-IV PG and had a South Oaks Gambling Screen (SOGS) and National Opinion Research Center DSM Screen for Gambling Problems (NODS) scores ≥ 5. Subjects were evaluated at intake and reassessed every 6 months and drop outs were replaced. Follow-up lasted a mean (SD) of 2.6 (1.4) years. At intake older PGs were more likely to be female, Caucasian, divorced, and to have a lower level of education. Older and younger PGs were similar in gambling severity, but older PGs were more likely to have sought PG treatment. Older PGs had lower rates of lifetime drug use disorders, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. They preferred slots, were more likely to receive PG treatment, and were less likely to discontinue participation in the study. Week by week gambling activity levels showed a significant general downward movement for older and younger PGs, although there were no differences between the groups. Elders without PG had no change in their level of gambling activity. We conclude that younger and older PGs moved toward a reduced level of gambling activity during follow-up. Our data challenge the notion that PG is chronic and progressive.


Prevalence and determinants of gambling disorder among older adults

McGraw, C.

This systematic review examined the prevalence and determinants of gambling disorder in adults aged over 60 years. Studies that used community-based population sampling and were published up to May 2013 were identified using PubMed, Medline, CINAHL, EMBASE, PsycINFO and ProQuest.

Populations at Risk for a Gambling Disorder: Older Adults – full text

Thompson, K. M., & McNeilly, D. P. (2016). Populations at Risk for a Gambling Disorder: Older Adults. Current Addiction Reports, 1–5.
Purpose of review: Older adults who gamble are a population of concern, yet older adult problem gambling remains a topic of limited examination. This article seeks to critically evaluate the existing older adult problem gambling literature. Recent findings Recent literature uses generational comparisons to predict gambling behaviors of those newest to older adulthood, the Baby Boomers. These studies indicate that Baby Boomers participate in gambling activities at a higher rate than previous generations and that they may be further negatively impacted as access to gambling expands. Prevalence rates of problem gambling vary across countries suggesting that culture influences perceptions of gambling for older adults. While poorer health outcomes have also been associated with problem gambling, positive effects of gambling on cognition have also been suggested. Summary Finally, the authors offer personal observations and hypothetical discussion about these research implications and emphasize the need for better awareness, screening, and study of gambling disorders among older adults.

Marital Status and Problem Gambling Among Australian Older Adults: The Mediating Role of Loneliness

Problem gambling rates in older adults have risen dramatically in recent years and require further investigation. Limited available research has suggested that social needs may motivate gambling and hence problem gambling in older adults. Un-partnered older adults may be at greater risk of problem gambling than those with a partner. The current study explored whether loneliness mediated the marital status–problem gambling relationship, and whether gender moderated the mediation model. It was hypothesised that the relationship between being un-partnered and higher levels of loneliness would be stronger for older men than older women…

Source: Botterill, E., Gill, P. R., McLaren, S., & Gomez, R. (2015). Marital Status and Problem Gambling Among Australian Older Adults: The Mediating Role of Loneliness. Journal of Gambling Studies, 1–12. http://doi.org/10.1007/s10899-015-9575-5