An exploratory study of gambling cross addictions

Abstract

A growing body of empirical and theoretical research has concentrated on the overlaps and commonalities among chemical and non-chemical (behavioural) addictions. Pathological gambling has perhaps been the most widely researched behavioural addiction and some of this research has concerned the co-existing links between pathological gambling and alcohol/drug addiction in both the gambling substance abuser and the substance abusing gambler (i.e. cross addiction). This study was of an exploratory nature and attempted to gather information and data regarding gambling cross addictions in the UK. To achieve this, 456 letters were sent to all drug and alcohol helping agencies in England requesting such information. This yielded 210 returns (46% response rate). Results indicated that gambling cross addictions occur in both adults and adolescents and were almost exclusively a male condition. However, it must be noted only just over half of the responding agencies had encountered gambling cross addiction and reasons for this are speculated. Results also indicated the existence of various cross addicted subgroups including an adolescent subgroup who were addicted to fruit machines and abused solvents. Future research ideas are also discussed.

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