Investigating possible effects of ethnicity and age on gambling as an escape

Abstract

Previous research has shown that there are a number of risk factors for disordered and problem gambling, including an individual’s ethnicity and age. Endorsing gambling as an escape has also been shown to contribute to and maintain disordered gambling. The present study examined potential interactions between ethnicity and age as they relate to disordered gambling, as well as if ethnicity and age would be predictors of endorsing gambling as an escape. Three hundred fifteen adults from the United States completed measures relating to gambling. Participants were grouped into ethnic categories of Caucasian and non-Caucasian, and age groups of 18–25, 26–35, 36–55, and 56 years old and above. Non-Caucasians reported more gambling problems than Caucasians. A significant interaction was found between ethnicity and age for 36–55 year olds. Overall, participants were more likely to gamble for positive than negative reinforcement. However, only gambling as an escape was a significant predictor of disordered gambling. Implications and limitations are discussed with the thought that these results are informative to practitioners treating disordered gambling.

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