A case series of 44 completed gambling-related suicides

Abstract

This paper presents an analysis of 44 case records of suicide occurring between 1990 and 1997 in the State of Victoria, Australia, in which the State Coroner identified the presence of a putative gambling problem. Analysis of demographic data revealed that the majority of suicidal gamblers were male with a mean age of 40 years with 84% of the sample being either unemployed or from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. The most common method of suicide was carbon monoxide poisoning. A quarter of the victims left a suicide note. Evidence was found indicating that almost a third (31.8%) of cases had previously attempted suicide and one in four had sought some form of mental health assistance for their gambling problem. A number of putative risk factors were identified including comorbid depression, large financial debts and relationship difficulties. The relationship between crime, suicide and gambling and gender differences among suicidal gamblers was also examined. The authors conclude that further research is required to substantiate these initial findings which are based on retrospective accounts and secondary sources of evidence.

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