Analysis of data from the British Gambling Prevalence Survey (BGPS) 2007 suggests that there is an increasing need for education and training amongst the health profession in the diagnosis, appropriate referral and effective treatment of gambling problems. This secondary analysis, undertaken by Professor Mark Griffiths from Nottingham Trent University and Professor Jim Orford from University of Birmingham, studied the relationship between gambling and general health status, cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption.
The hypothesis of this analysis was that there may be lifestyle clusters of behaviour that co-occur and that potentially addictive behaviours have some overlaps. The results show that cigarette smokers were over three times more likely than non-smokers to be problem gamblers; alcohol consumption as measured by the number of units drank on the heaviest drinking day in the last week was significantly associated with problem gambling; and those with poor health were over three times as likely to be a problem gambler compared to those in good health.
The role of social factors in gambling was analysed also from BGPS data and contribute to the limited evidence on the relationship between social factors and variations in gambling and problem gambling in the population. The authors, who emphasise the analyses were exploratory and leave open many questions about the interpretation of the results, studied associations between gambling and the following socio-economic variables: personal income, household occupational category and deprivation level of area of residence.
It was found that income was significantly associated with gambling prevalence, gambling on four or more activities in the past year and attitudes towards gambling as those with higher incomes had more positive attitudes towards gambling. Those in managerial and professional occupations were least engaged in gambling and least at risk of problem gambling. Area deprivation was significantly associated with frequency and volume of gambling, with those living in the most deprived areas gambling more often than those in less deprived areas.
Parental regular gambling and parental and close relative problem gambling were each more prevalent amongst respondents from the more deprived areas. However, the authors point out that it is also in the nature of studies of this type that they cannot provide any conclusive evidence on causation. (E-03.30.09)
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