Identifying Environmental and Social Factors Predisposing to Pathological Gambling Combining Standard Logistic Regression and Logic Learning Machine
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Identifying potential risk factors for problem gambling (PG) is of primary importance for planning preventive and therapeutic interventions. We illustrate a new approach based on the combination of standard logistic regression and an innovative method of supervised data mining (Logic Learning Machine or LLM). Data were taken from a pilot cross-sectional study to identify subjects with PG behaviour, assessed by two internationally validated scales (SOGS and Lie/Bet). Information was obtained from 251 gamblers recruited in six betting establishments. Data on socio-demographic characteristics, lifestyle and cognitive-related factors, and type, place and frequency of preferred gambling were obtained by a self-administered questionnaire. The following variables associated with PG were identified: instant gratification games, alcohol abuse, cognitive distortion, illegal behaviours and having started gambling with a relative or a friend. Furthermore, the combination of LLM and LR indicated the presence of two different types of PG, namely: (a) daily gamblers, more prone to illegal behaviour, with poor money management skills and who started gambling at an early age, and (b) non-daily gamblers, characterised by superstitious beliefs and a higher preference for immediate reward games. Finally, instant gratification games were strongly associated with the number of games usually played. Studies on gamblers habitually frequently betting shops are rare. The finding of different types of PG by habitual gamblers deserves further analysis in larger studies. Advanced data mining algorithms, like LLM, are powerful tools and potentially useful in identifying risk factors for PG.
KeywordsProblem gambling Logic Learning Machine Logistic regression ROC analysis
Stefano Parodi is a research fellow of the Italian MIUR Flagship project “InterOmics”.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
Corrado Dosi is an authorized patron of a betting agency. The other authors have no conflict of interest to declare.
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