Gambling is a game where you bet something of value on a random event with the hope of winning a prize. Gambling involves three elements. The first is risk, the second is a prize, and the third is consideration.
Positive effects on physical and mental health
Gambling can be a positive experience, with moderate participation bringing relief from anxiety and depression. But excessive gambling can have a negative effect, including bankruptcy. Research indicates that problem gambling is linked to higher levels of physical aggression, mental health symptoms, and social withdrawal. It is important to understand the relationship between gambling and these factors in order to target targeted interventions.
Pathological gambling can have a range of direct effects on health, and it can also have an impact on the environment and community. The costs of pathological gambling include criminal justice system costs, environmental costs, disruptions of interpersonal relationships, and the increased cost of credit and public infrastructure. These costs are called externality costs. In New South Wales, Australia, the total cost associated with pathological gambling is estimated at A$2.9 billion annually.
While most of the studies on mental illness and gambling have focused on co-morbid conditions, the relationship between gambling and mental health is multi-directional. For instance, compulsive gamblers have higher levels of anxiety, depression, and substance abuse than non-problem gamblers.
Despite these findings, there are few well-designed longitudinal studies on the connection between gambling and mental health. Studies on the association between gambling and aggression, for example, are limited. This study, however, is the first to examine the relationship between gambling and behavioral and mental health in emerging adulthood.
Using a sample of Norwegians, the authors surveyed young people at age 17 and 19 to investigate the relationship between gambling and mental health. Specifically, the researchers examined the effect of gender, adolescent temperament, and high-risk behaviors on the prevalence of risky and problem gambling.
Researchers found that the risky-and-problem gambling group had the highest rates of depression, anxiety, and physical aggression. However, the consistent non-gambling group had the lowest.
Aggression, on the other hand, was a predictor of both risky and problem gambling. Males had higher rates of both physical and verbal aggression. Interestingly, females had lower rates of belonging to the consistent non-gambling class.
Financial harms caused by gambling
Gambling can be a fun activity, but it can also be an addictive and damaging activity. It can affect both physical and mental health, relationships and work performance. Problem gambling can lead to financial ruin, legal issues and suicide. Increasingly, financial institutions are becoming aware of the harms associated with credit provision for gambling.
Financial harms are considered the most common consequence of gambling problems. These include lost savings and bankruptcy. However, not all gamblers suffer from debt problems. In addition to the harms listed above, many people with debt problems also experience psychological distress.
Despite the fact that many of the external costs of gambling become visible at the community level, little empirical research has been conducted to study the underlying factors that drive debt problems. Historically, the measurement of debt problems has been non-specific and has incorporated various operationalisations.
The most common problem gambling harms are related to lower socioeconomic status. This may result from pre-existing psychosocial vulnerabilities that motivate gambling involvement. For example, impulsivity and reward seeking may drive gambling.
Another important factor in the development of problem gambling is the use of consumer credit. People with problem gambling often borrow money to cover their expenses. They also use consumer credit to continue gambling.
Several studies have found that the prevalence of at-risk gambling is higher among those who attend consumer credit counselling sessions. However, little empirical research has been done to determine whether consumers’ credit use exacerbates problem gambling.
Gambling is a complex social activity, involving many interacting factors. Individuals may engage in gambling in order to escape from other, more serious, personal issues. But even when they do not suffer from gambling, the act of borrowing to cover expenses can aggravate their situation.
Similarly, financial institutions may not always be as concerned about the effects of their credit provision on gambling problems. However, there is a growing interest in better regulating the credit sector to improve customer financial well-being.