What's the harm?: Predicting the risk of future gambling problems

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Gooding, Nolan Brian
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Arts and Science
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Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Dept. of Psychology
Problem gambling (PG) and gambling-related harm (GRH) are strongly associated with heavier gambling involvement in terms of the amount of time and money spent gambling as well as the number of gambling formats participated in. This association has been the focus of public health initiatives aimed at the prevention of GRH and PG, most notably the “Lower Risk Gambling Guidelines”. However, it has also been demonstrated that heavier gambling involvement is only one feature relevant to the development of either outcome. In order to better identify cases in which gambling problems may emerge, a secondary analysis of data from the Alberta Gambling Research Institute’s National Project Online Panel Survey was conducted. In the first study, it was shown that while breadth of gambling involvement is a stronger concurrent and future predictor of gambling problems than involvement in any particular type, involvement in certain types of gambling (electronic gambling machines in particular, and casino table games to a lesser extent) does confer additional risk. In the second study a more comprehensive examination of the factors that predict GRH or PG onset was undertaken as part of an initiative to update the ‘at-risk’ category of the Problem and Pathological Gambling Measure (PPGM). The analysis showed that five items pertaining to breadth of gambling involvement, largest single day gambling loss, perception of gambling problems, rated importance of gambling as a leisure activity, and overall level of PG symptomatology demonstrated superior prediction accuracy relative to previously utilized operationalizations of ‘at-risk’ gambling. Taken together, these two studies a) more conclusively demonstrate that certain types of gambling do confer additional risk; b) provide a substantially improved ‘at-risk’ assessment to a well-validated problem gambling assessment instrument; and c) provide a more complete understanding of the risk factors associated with GRH and PG.
problem gambling , gambling-related harm , heavy gambling involvement , predictors of future gambling problems