Child­hood trau­mas may up gam­bling dis­or­der risk

Muscat Daily - - FEATURES -

Young boys who suf­fered trau­mas, in­clud­ing phys­i­cal abuse or wit­ness­ing vi­o­lence at home, are more likely to have gam­bling ad­dic­tions and dis­or­ders in adult­hood, ac­cord­ing to a re­search.

The find­ings showed that chil­dren with prob­a­ble patho­log­i­cal gam­bling prob­lems, a com­mon dis­or­der, are more likely to suf­fer in­juries, mar­i­tal dif­fi­cul­ties, home­less­ness, money prob­lems and crim­i­nal­ity as adults.

"This sug­gests that dis­or­dered gam­bling does not oc­cur on its own, but that it is per­haps symp­to­matic of other so­cial, be­havioural and psy­cho­log­i­cal prob­lems of some in­di­vid­u­als," said Amanda Roberts, foren­sic psy­chol­o­gist at the Univer­sity of Lin­coln, UK.

"We have found that among men, dis­or­dered gam­bling re­mains uniquely as­so­ci­ated with trauma and life stres­sors in child­hood and adult­hood af­ter ad­just­ing for al­co­hol and drug de­pen­dence," Roberts added.

For the study, pub­lished in the jour­nal Ad­dic­tive Be­hav­iours, the team ex­am­ined re­sponses in a sur­vey of more than 3,000 men on a va­ri­ety of life fac­tors, and found that just over a quar­ter who had prob­a­ble patho­log­i­cal gam­bling prob­lems had wit­nessed vi­o­lence in the home as a child. While ten per cent re­ported be­ing phys­i­cally abused in child­hood, seven per cent said they had suf­fered a life-threat­en­ing in­jury.

Nearly 23 per cent of men were iden­ti­fied as prob­lem gam­blers - dis­play­ing a less harm­ful re­la­tion­ship with gam­bling than their patho­log­i­cal peers - also re­ported wit­ness­ing vi­o­lence at home, while the rate for non-prob­lem gam­blers was just eight per cent.

Sim­i­larly, men who re­ported per­son­ally suf­fer­ing phys­i­cal abuse in child­hood, with ten per cent of patho­log­i­cal gam­blers re­port­ing be­ing the vic­tim of vi­o­lence, ver­sus nine per cent for prob­lem gam­blers and four per cent for non-prob­lem gam­blers.

"Gen­eral ex­pe­ri­ences of stress­ful life events" such as job loss or home­less­ness in adult­hood are not as­so­ci­ated with "the same ex­treme psy­cho­log­i­cal re­sponses", sug­gest­ing that as­so­ci­a­tions with trau­matic events at an early age might in­crease vul­ner­a­bil­ity to de­vel­op­ing gam­bling prob­lems, Roberts noted.

The study high­lights a need for gam­bling treat­ment ser­vices to in­clude rou­tine screen­ing for trau­matic life events or sub­stance abuse, so that treat­ments can be bet­ter tai­lored.

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