Gambling disorder in older adults: A cross-cultural perspective


Gambling disorder (GD) in older adults is significantly increasing and became an important public health issue in different countries. However, little is known regarding GD in older adults. The prevalence and acceptance of gambling vary among different cultures and this raises the question of how and to what extent culture affects older gamblers. The majority of the important studies regarding GD in older adults have been conducted mainly in Anglo-Saxon cultures and little information is available regarding GD in other cultures. The objective of this paper is to perform the first standardized cross-cultural comparison regarding older adults presenting GD.

The total studied sample involved 170 subjects: 89 from the Brazilian (BR) sample and 81 from the American (US) sample. It consisted of 67 men and 103 women (average age=64.42, standard deviation=±3.86). They were evaluated for socio-demographics, gambling behavior variables and psychiatric antecedents.

Overall, there were significant differences between BR and US older adult gamblers in marital status, onset of gambling activity, onset of GD and urge scores.

This study showed that there are important differences in gambling course, gambling behavior and personal antecedents between two samples of older adults presenting GD from countries with different social-cultural background. It weakens the possibility of generalization of results found in Anglo-Saxon countries to other cultures and reinforces for the need for development of research on GD in older adults outside the Anglo-Saxon culture.

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