The relationship of gambling to health, social functioning, and life satisfaction in older adults


The health, social functioning, and life satisfaction of older adults, age 50 and older were explored across levels of gambling activity as measured by the National Opinion Research Centre DSM Screen for Gambling Problems (NODS). Three hundred and nine participants were recruited from two different geographic locations in Ontario. Self-rated measures consisted of two widely-used gambling screens, and measures of general health, mental health, social functioning, and life satisfaction. Alcohol consumption, the use of prescription medication, and pain were also assessed. Both recreational gamblers and non-gamblers reported significantly better health and greater life satisfaction than problem gamblers. Problem gamblers reported significantly higher anxiety and depression than both of the other groups and poorer social functioning. Higher gambling expenditures, more frequent gambling, and participation in more types of gambling activities were associated with problem gambling. Sex differences were noted in gambling activities and certain problem gambling behaviours. Residing in a household with others that gambled and not having a current marital partner emerged as predictors of problem gambling risk. The findings provide further support for the relationship between problem gambling and poorer health. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved)

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