Journal of Gambling Studies

, Volume 31, Issue 3, pp 741–757 | Cite as

Demographic Risk Factors and Gambling Preference May Not Explain the High Prevalence of Gambling Problems Among the Population with Migration Background: Results from a German Nationwide Survey

  • Nadin Kastirke
  • Hans-Jürgen Rumpf
  • Ulrich John
  • Anja Bischof
  • Christian Meyer
Original Paper


There are high proportions of problem gamblers among individuals who themselves or whose parents immigrated to Germany. This study aimed to examine whether demographic risk factors and gambling preference may explain the higher prevalence of gambling problems among those with migration background (MB). Data was obtained from a nationwide telephone survey which was part of the project “Pathological Gambling and Epidemiology” (PAGE). The sample comprised 15,023 study participants aged 14–64 years living in Germany. Participants who had reported gambling within their lifetime (n = 6,406) were defined as gamblers and categorized according to their MB (n = 1,209 with MB), additional demographic characteristics (sex, age, marital status, household size, education, occupation), preferred types of gambling (21 categories covering the gambling types available in Germany), and the count of lifetime gambling problem symptoms (0–10 criteria of the fourth Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). Estimates from a negative binomial regression revealed that there is a 146.2 % increase in the expected count of gambling problem symptoms for gamblers with MB compared to those without MB. The percentage decreased to 102.5 and 97.6 % after adjustment for demographic characteristics and further adjustment for preferred types of gambling, respectively. Demographic risk factors and gambling preference may partially mediate but not completely explain the higher prevalence of gambling problems among the population with MB. Having an MB may be considered as an independent risk factor for gambling problems, which indicates a need for culturally sensitive prevention and treatment measures.


Pathological gambling Disordered gambling Gambler Migrants Immigrants 



The PAGE project was funded by the German federal states based on the Interstate Treaty on Gambling. This study was funded by the Ministry of Social Affairs, Health, Family and Equality of Land Schleswig–Holstein within the project “Migration, Help-Seeking and Gambling” and the University of Greifswald by providing a PhD fellowship. The authors would like to thank Doris Hess, Reiner Gilberg, and Angelika Steinwede from the infas Institute for Applied Social Sciences, who were responsible for organizing the fieldwork and providing methodological support. We also would like to thank all members of our advisory board.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical standard

The local ethics committees of the Universities of Greifswald and Lübeck approved this study, which was part of the project PAGE (Reg.-No. BB 95/09; Reg.-No.10-068). All individuals gave their informed consent prior to their inclusion in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nadin Kastirke
    • 1
  • Hans-Jürgen Rumpf
    • 2
  • Ulrich John
    • 1
  • Anja Bischof
    • 2
  • Christian Meyer
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Social Medicine and PreventionUniversity Medicine GreifswaldGreifswaldGermany
  2. 2.Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Research Group S:TEPUniversity of LübeckLübeckGermany

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