Category: Addictive Behaviors
Clinical (i.e., pathological) levels of gambling and subclinical (i.e., problem) gambling are characterized by poorer functioning across of range of domains, including occupational, social, and emotional functioning. Several specific sociodemographic characteristics and poor health outcomes are associated with maladaptive gambling. Using data from the 2014 North Carolina Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System telephone survey, we compared a sample of 7,045 low-risk gamblers to 244 problem/pathological gamblers across sociodemographic variables, health behaviors, and both physical and mental health outcomes. We determined participant gambling status – i.e., “low-risk gamblers” or “problem/pathological gamblers,” using the National Opinion Research Center’s Diagnostic Screen for Gambling Disorders (NODS)-CLiP. Problem/pathological gamblers were significantly more likely to be young, male, of ethnic minority status, unmarried, and to have lower educational attainment compared to low-risk gamblers, ps .05 Problem/pathological gamblers were significantly more likely to have endorsed adverse childhood experiences and they reported engaging in tobacco and alcohol use at higher rates than low-risk gamblers. However, there were no significant differences in any of the health-related variables examined (e.g., history of heart disease, stroke, brain injury, chronic fatigue syndrome). Additionally, males classified as pathological/problem gamblers experienced greater alcohol use compared to low-risk males, while no such difference across gambling group and alcohol use was identified for females. This study contributes to our knowledge of the relationship between pathological/problem gambling and health outcomes, as well as emphasizes the importance of assessing for gambling disorders in health care settings.