Background and aims:
International evidence indicates elevated problem gambling rates in armed forces veterans compared with the general population. Gambling problems adversely impact one’s family, and family-related variables may increase vulnerability to gambling-related harm. Little is known, however, about gambling problems in the United Kingdom (UK) veterans or to what extent family variables, such as parenting history and experience of domestic violence, influence veterans’ gambling.
We compared veterans (n = 257) and sex- and agematched controls (n = 514) drawn from the 2007 Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey on gambling, financial management, domestic violence, childhood parental presence, and experience of stressful life events. Veterans who left the military before or after 4 years of service were compared.
Problem gambling was significantly more prevalent in veterans (1.4%) than non-veterans (0.2%), and the impact of gambling problems on the family was specific to male veterans, particularly those who had experienced a traumatic event after the age of 16, and those who were more likely to have been physically attacked by their partner.
Overall, this study revealed that the UK armed forces veterans report a higher prevalence rate of problem gambling compared with non-veterans, with potential negative impact on family life.