Problem gambling in the UK: Implications for health, psychosocial adjustment and health care utilization

Abstract

Background/Aims: Research indicates that rates of gambling problems are increasing in the UK, but has provided limited consideration of possible implications for individuals, families and communities. This study examines the associations involving problem gambling and indicators of mental and physical health, as well as psychosocial adjustment and health care usage, in a representative sample from England. Methods: Data were derived from the 2007 Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey, which is a representative study of adults (n = 7,403). Regression models evaluated the correlates of problem gambling. Results: There were associations with problem gambling and mental health (anxiety, neurotic symptoms and substance use problems) and psychosocial maladjustment (suicidality, financial difficulties and social support). There were limited influences on physical health that were beyond socioeconomic factors and substance use problems. Notwithstanding, the results demonstrated over-representation of gambling problems in certain health-care settings. Conclusions: Findings support recognition of problem gambling as a public health concern in the UK, and initiatives for intervening in health-care services where conditions are over-represented.

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