Predictors of Problem Gambling in the U.S.
In this article we examine data from a national U.S. adult survey of gambling to determine correlates of problem gambling and discuss them in light of theories of the etiology of problem gambling. These include theories that focus on personality traits, irrational beliefs, anti-social tendencies, neighborhood influences and availability of gambling. Results show that males, persons in the 31–40 age range, blacks, and the least educated had the highest average problem gambling symptoms. Adults who lived in disadvantaged neighborhoods also had the most problem gambling symptoms. Those who attended religious services most often had the fewest problem gambling symptoms, regardless of religious denomination. Respondents who reported that it was most convenient for them to gamble had the highest average problem gambling symptoms, compared to those for whom gambling was less convenient. Likewise, adults with the personality traits of impulsiveness and depression had more problem gambling symptoms than those less impulsive or depressed. Respondents who had friends who approve of gambling had more problem gambling symptoms than those whose friends did not approve of gambling. The results for the demographic variables as well as for impulsiveness and religious attendance are consistent with an anti-social/impulsivist pathway to problem gambling. The results for depression are consistent with an emotionally vulnerable pathway to problem gambling.
KeywordsProblem gambling Gambling correlates Gambling survey
- Abbott, D. A., Cramer, S. L., & Sherrets, S. D. (1995). Pathological gambling and the family: Practice implications. Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Human Services, 76, 213–219.Google Scholar
- Abbott, M., & Volberg, R. (1991). Gambling and problem gambling in New Zealand: Report on phase one of the national survey of problem gambling. Research Series No. 12. Research Unit, Department of Internal Affairs, Wellington, New Zealand.Google Scholar
- Casino City Press. (2010). Gaming business directory. Newton, MA: Casino City Press.Google Scholar
- Christian, J., Ladouceur, R., & Ferland, F. (2000). Impact of availability on gambling: A longitudinal study. The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, La Revue Canadienne de Psychiatrie, 45(9), 810–815.Google Scholar
- Clotfelter, C. T., & Cook, P. J. (1991). Selling hope: State lotteries in America (First Harvard University Press paperback edition). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
- Delfabbro, P. (2002). Inquiry into management of gaming machine numbers. Report. University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia.Google Scholar
- Derogatis, L. R. (2001). Brief Sympton Inventory (BSI)-18. Administration, scoring and procedures manual. Minneapolis, MN: NSC Pearson, Inc.Google Scholar
- Gobet, F., & Schiller, M. (2011). A manifesto for cognitive models of problem gambling. In B. Kokinov, A. Karmiloff-Smith, & N. J. Nersessian (Eds.), European perspectives on cognitive science. Sofia: New Bulgarian University Press.Google Scholar
- Lester, D. (1994). Access to gambling opportunities and compulsive gambling. Substance Use and Misuse, 29(12), 1611–1616.Google Scholar
- National Opinion Research Center (NORC). (1999). Gambling impact and behavior study. Chicago: Author.Google Scholar
- Robins, L., Marcus, L., Reich, W., Cunningham, R., & Gallagher, T. (1996). NIMH diagnostic interview schedule-Version IV (DIS-IV). St. Louis: Department of Psychiatry, Washington University School of Medicine.Google Scholar
- Volberg, R. A. (1993). Estimating the prevalence of pathological gambling in the United States. In W. R. Eadington & J. A. Cornelius (Eds.), Gambling behavior and problem gambling. Reno: University of Nevada Press.Google Scholar
- Weiss, M. (1988). The clustering of America: A vivid portrait of the nation’s 40 neighborhood types—Their values, lifestyles, and eccentricities. New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
- Williams, R.J., Belanger, Y.D., & Arthur, J. N. (2011). Gambling in Alberta: History, current status, and socioeconomic impacts. Final Report to the Alberta Gaming Research Institute. Edmonton, Alberta, April 2, 2011. http://hdl.handle.net/1880/48495.
- Wynne, H. J. (2003). Introducing the Canadian Problem Gambling Index. Edmonton: Wynne Resources.Google Scholar