Characteristics of Older Adult Problem Gamblers Calling a Gambling Helpline
- 464 Downloads
Few investigations have characterized groups of older adults with gambling problems, and published reports are currently limited by small samples of older adult problem gamblers. Gambling helplines represent a widespread mechanism for assisting problem gamblers to move into treatment settings. Given data from older adult problem gamblers in treatment, we hypothesized that older as compared with younger adult problem gamblers calling a gambling helpline would be less likely to report gambling-related problems.
Design and methods
Logistic regression analyses were performed on data obtained from January 1, 2000 to December 31, 2001, inclusive, from callers with gambling problems (N = 1,084) contacting the Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling Helpline.
Of the 1,018 phone calls used in the logistic regression analyses, 168 (16.5%) were from older adults and 850 (83.5%) from younger adults. Age-related differences were observed in demographic features, types and patterns of gambling reported as problematic, gambling-related problems and psychiatric symptoms, substance use problems, patterns of indebtedness, and family histories of addictive disorders. Older as compared with younger adult problem gamblers were more likely to report having lower incomes, longer durations of gambling, fewer types of problematic gambling, and problems with casino slot machine gambling and less likely to report gambling-related anxiety, family problems, illegal behaviors and arrests, drug problems, indebtedness to bookies or acquaintances, family histories of drug abuse, and problems with casino table gambling.
Older as compared with younger adult problem gamblers calling a gambling helpline differ on many clinically relevant features. The findings suggest the need for improved and unique prevention and treatment strategies for older adults with gambling problems.
KeywordsProblem gambling Older adults Prevention Helpline
This work was supported by a Young Investigator Award from the National Alliance for Research in Schizophrenia and Depression, a Drug Abuse Research Scholar Program in Psychiatry Award from the American Psychiatric Association and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (K12-DA00366), a Clinician Scientist Training Program Award from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (K12-DA00167), Women’s Health Research at Yale, the National Center for Responsible Gaming, a US Veterans Administration VISN 1 Mental Illness Research Educational and Clinical Center, the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, the Mohegan Sun Tribal Nation, and the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. The authors thank Susan McLaughlin for supervision of helpline data acquisition and modification of helpline forms, Elaine LaVelle for data management, and Mary Wilber and Erin Reutenauer for technical assistance.
- Bevington, C. (2002). Why do the elderly seem more susceptible to believing sweepstakes promises? http://www.kpcnews.net/special_reports/sweepstakesscams/sweeps17.html [2002, May 10, 2002].Google Scholar
- Cunningham-Williams, R. M., Cottler, L. B., Compton, W. M. 3rd, & Spitznagel, E. L. (1998). Taking chances: Problem gamblers and mental health disorders – results from the St. Louis Epidemiologic Catchment Area Study. American Journal of Public Health, 88, 1093–1096.Google Scholar
- Gerstein, D., Hoffmann, J., Larison, C., Engelman, L., Murphy, S., Palmer, A., Chuchro, L., Toce, M., Johnson, R., Buie, T., & Hill, M. A. (1999). Gambling impact and behavior study. National Opinion Research Center, University of Chicago [1999, March 27, 1999].Google Scholar
- Gosker, E. (1999). The marketing of gambling to the elderly. Elder Law Journal, 7, 184–216.Google Scholar
- James, K. C. (1999). National gambling impact study commission: Final report to congress. http://www.ngisc.gov/reports/fullrpt.html, Accessed August 18, 1999.Google Scholar
- Kallick, M. D., Suits, T., Dielman, T., & Hybels, J. (1979). A survey of American gambling attitudes and behaviors. Research report series, survey research center, institute for social research. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar
- Korn, D. A., & Shaffer, H. J. (1999). Gambling and the health of the public: Adopting a public health perspective. Journal of Gambling Studies, 15, 289–365.Google Scholar
- McNeilly, D. P., & Burke, W. J. (2000). Late life gambling: The attitudes and behaviors of older adults. Journal of Gambling Studies, 16, 393–415.Google Scholar
- McNeilly, D. P., & Burke, W. J. (2001). Gambling as a social activity of older adults. International Journal of Aging and Human Development, 52, 19–28.Google Scholar
- McNeilly, D. P., & Burke, W. J. (2002). Disposable time and disposable income: Problem casino gambling behavior in older adults. Journal of Clinical Geropsychology, 8, 75–85.Google Scholar
- Mendez, M. F., Bronstein, Y. L., & Christine, D. L. (2000). Excessive sweepstakes participation by persons with dementia. Journal of the American Gerontological Society, 48, 855–856.Google Scholar
- Potenza, M. N., Steinberg, M. A., McLaughlin, S. D., Wu, R., Rounsaville, B. J., & O’Malley, S. S. (2001a). Gender-related differences in the characteristics of problem gamblers using a gambling helpline. American Journal of Psychiatry, 158, 1500–1505.Google Scholar
- Schneider, E. (1999). Aging in the third millenium. Science, 283, 796–797.Google Scholar
- Senior Gambling Task Force (2002). http://www.seniorproblemgambling.org. Accessed May 28, 2002.Google Scholar
- Shaffer, H. J., & Hall, M. N. (2001). Updating and refining prevalence estimates of disordered gambling behavior in the United States and Canada. Canadian Journal of Public Health, 92, 168–172.Google Scholar
- Shapiro, S., Skinner, E. A., Kessler, L. G., von Korff, M., German, P. S., Tischler, G. L., Leaf, P. L., Benham, L., Cottler, L., & Regier, D. A. (1984). Utilization of health and mental health services: Three epidemiologic catchment area sites. Archives of General Psychiatry, 41, 971–978.PubMedGoogle Scholar
- United States National Census (2002a). http://eire.census.gov/popest/archives/national/nation2/intfile2–1.txt. Accessed May 28, 2002.Google Scholar
- United States National Census (2002b). http://eire.census.gov/popest/archives/national/nation3/intfile3–1.txt. Accessed May 28, 2002.Google Scholar
- Welte, J., Barnes, G., Wieczorek, W., Tidwell, M. -C., & Parker, J. (2001). Alcohol and gambling pathology among U.S. adults: Prevalence, demographic patterns and comorbidity. Journal of the Study of Alcohol, 62, 706–712.Google Scholar
- Winick, C. (1962). Maturing out of nicotine addiction. United Nations Bulletin on Narcotics, 14, 1–7.Google Scholar