Gambling and Its Socio-Cultural Implications

Gambling involves putting something of value at risk on an event that is unpredictable and where strategy can be discounted. It can lead to financial harm, psychological harm, family break down and social isolation – as well as a host of health-related harms such as anxiety, depression, headaches and nausea.

While a significant amount of gambling research focuses on individual behaviour, addiction and cognition, there is a growing corpus of research that takes a socio-cultural approach to this activity. This approach provides a framework for understanding how the global gambling industry is shaped and influenced by social, regulatory and commercial forces.

The present study uses a longitudinal cohort of young people to examine the development of gambling over time. Data are collected at three time points (at age 17, 20 and 24 years). ALSPAC participants were asked about whether they had gambled in the previous 12 months. A range of antecedents were also assessed at all three time points. Because these were self-report, they are susceptible to biases such as social desirability and memory recall.

Univariable analyses were conducted on all available antecedents to gambling using either chi-square tests or ANOVAs. Variables associated with gambling at different ages were then entered into multivariable models. Due to the large number of missing values, multiple imputation was used with chained equations in STATA v.15.

If you are concerned about gambling, it’s important to talk about it with others and seek help. There are many ways to get professional help, including family therapy and marriage, career and credit counseling. You can also find support from groups like Gamblers Anonymous — a 12-step program based on the principles of Alcoholics Anonymous.