Correlates of At-Risk and Problem Gambling Among Veterans in Massachusetts

  • Joshua R. FreemanEmail author
  • Rachel A. Volberg
  • Martha Zorn
Original Paper


Few studies have examined problem gambling among veterans and, of those studies, there are conflicting conclusions surrounding correlates of problem gambling in veterans. Our study aims to assess problem gambling prevalence among veterans using non-Veterans Affairs data and to evaluate correlates of problem gambling among veterans in a general population sample. We obtained a probability sample of adult Massachusetts residents using address based sampling in 2013–2014. Participants completed a questionnaire on demographics, veteran status, and gambling behaviors and motivations. We identified n = 129 problem gamblers from a sample of n = 9578 participants. Of the problem gamblers who had veteran status information, 20.6% were veterans. Due to sample size limitations, we analyzed veteran problem and at-risk gamblers compared to veteran recreational gamblers. Having friends and family members engaged in gambling and engaging in more gambling formats were significantly, positively associated with veteran problem and at-risk gambler status. Participating in raffles in the past year was associated with lower odds of being a veteran problem and at-risk gambler compared to veteran recreational gamblers (OR 0.31, 95% CI 0.18–0.52). These discriminators of at-risk and problem gambling may be useful in developing clinical treatment approaches for veteran problem gamblers. Future studies should focus on changes in the prevalence of veteran problem gambling and additional correlates that may better capture social support domains and gambling activity among veterans.


Problem gambling At-risk gambling Veterans Correlates 



Funding was provided by Massachusetts Gaming Commission (Grant No. ISA MGC10500003UMS15A).

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biostatistics and EpidemiologyUniversity of MassachusettsAmherstUSA

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