Study Finds Strong Ties Between Gambling and Depression in Men
A new study published in Springer’s Journal of Gambling Studies shows that male chronic gamblers face extraordinarily high odds of experiencing depression.
The findings come from a team of researchers led by Frédéric Dussault, Ph.D., of the University of Quebec at Montreal in Canada. For the study, the researchers used data from an ongoing long-term study which began in 1984 and is following a group of 1,162 kindergarten boys from economically disadvantaged areas in Montreal.
During the boys’ lifetimes, researchers have gathered information about their socio-family settings, how impulsive the boys were, and the quality of their relationships with their parents and friends.
The current study used data from 888 participants who were interviewed at the ages of 17, 23, and 28 years old about potential gambling or depression problems.
Only three percent of those participating exhibited increasing chronic gambling problems over the course of the study, which corresponds with the prevalence rate of problem gambling among adults. However, of those with significant gambling problems, 73 percent also experienced issues with depression.
More notably, these problems seem to develop simultaneously, becoming more severe over time.
The researchers also note that highly impulsive boys were most likely to experience depression and gambling problems.
The authors noted several reasons for gambling to develop during this period and why they typically grow more severe over time.
“Gambling problems may be more a personal problem similar to an addiction — once acquired, they are difficult to get rid of,” Dussault said.