Gambling and Co-Morbid Disorders was a three year research study undertaken by the Centre for Gambling Education and Research, Southern Cross University.
The aim of this study was to
- increase the understanding of the role of co-morbid disorders in problem gambling, and
- assist in the development of effective prevention and intervention measures to avoid problem gambling.
Some of the most salient findings are:
- Less than half of problem gamblers had experienced depression or anxiety. Of those who had, men were between 5 and 6 times more likely to experience depression and/or anxiety after the onset of problem gambling. Women therefore were more likely to experience these disorders before problem gambling.
- When all disorders were analysed in terms of their individual ability to predict problem gambling, most did not predict problem gambling.
- Anxiety was an independent predictor of problem gambling developments.
- If impulsivity problems arise when people are feeling guilty, fearful, angry or nervous, this also predicts the development of problem gambling.
- Eighteen mental health and gambling help experts confirmed the findings for impulsivity and anxiety.
- Interestingly, alcohol abuse predicted lower levels of problem gambling 12 months later. Problem gambling seems to occur to women at an older age than men and this results in a relationship that conditions precede problem gambling development.
- In terms of public health recommendations, the experts favour a broadening of awareness about problem gambling in the wider health and welfare service sectors through more questioning (of patients or clients) by practitioners, especially General Practitioners (GPs).