Gambling Disorders


Gambling involves risking money or other valuables on the outcome of a specific event, such as the roll of a dice, the spin of a roulette wheel, or the result of a horse race. Despite the element of risk and uncertainty, gambling has always had a place in society and can be an enjoyable pastime. But, like many other activities, it can become harmful when taken to an extreme. For some people, this can lead to a gambling disorder which is recognised in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Fifth Edition).

Research suggests that for some individuals it is possible to become addicted to a particular activity such as gambling or alcohol or drug use. Some people with gambling problems may also have other types of addictions which are related to or caused by the problem gambling behaviour.

The ALSPAC study provides a unique opportunity to examine the impact of gambling and its associated characteristics across three time points using a cohort of young people who have complete records of their behaviour. However, a high degree of missing data on the antecedent variables made multivariable modelling difficult. Multiple imputation was used to overcome this difficulty and details of the methods are provided in the supplementary material. Those who were not fully interviewed at 17 years, 20 years or 24 years and completed the gambling survey were more likely to be male, have hyperactivity and conduct problems, have higher sensation seeking scores, be unemployed/not in education, be a smoker or drinker of alcohol weekly, have mothers with low educational qualifications and live in poorer social circumstances than those who were fully followed up at all three times.