Submission Type

Presentation

Submission Title

Gambling Behavior Transitions in the Massachusetts Gambling Impact Cohort Study

Session Title

Session 2-1-A: Measuring Problem Gambling Behavior — On Location

Location

Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada

Start Date

29-5-2019 9:00 AM

End Date

29-5-2019 10:25 AM

Disciplines

Epidemiology | Public Health

Abstract

Efforts in problem gambling prevention and treatment would benefit from etiological information about how the condition develops, progresses, and remits over time. This paper reports on findings from the first major cohort study of gambling in the United States and focuses on transitions within the cohort in the first three waves of the study.

The cohort was established with a stratified sample of 3,139 respondents who completed a multi-mode probability sample survey conducted in 2013/2014 with adult Massachusetts residents. Wave 2 was conducted in 2015 and Wave 3 in 2016.

After three waves, the most stable group was Recreational Gamblers with 70.2% remaining in this category. The next most stable group was Non-Gamblers with 48.1% remaining in this category across the three waves. One-third (32.8%) of Problem Gamblers remained in this group across all waves of the study and only 20.4% of At-Risk Gamblers remained in this category across the three waves.

Few members of the cohort abstained entirely from gambling even when they transitioned into less harmful gambling behavior. This suggests that ‘controlled’ gambling may not be incompatible with recovery from problem gambling and that abstinence from gambling need not be a primary treatment goal. This could improve treatment seeking by those experiencing gambling problems.

Implications:

This presentation describes transitions across the gambling behavior continuum in a cohort of Massachusetts adults. The finding that the majority of Problem Gamblers and At-Risk Gamblers move down and up the continuum relatively quickly has implications for problem gambling treatment and recovery support.

Keywords

Research, Etiology, Gambling Behavior, Transitions, Problem Gambling

Author Bio

Rachel Volberg is the Principal Investigator on two major studies funded by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission: the Social and Economic Impacts of Gambling in Massachusetts (SEIGMA) study and the Massachusetts Gambling Impact Cohort (MAGIC) study. Dr. Volberg has published extensively and presents frequently at national and international conferences. She holds professorial appointments at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand.

Funding Sources

This study was funded by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission and carried out by researchers from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and partners. The MGC had no involvement in formulating the research questions, conducting the study, or interpreting the data.

Competing Interests

The author does not have any financial or non-financial completing interests to declare.

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May 29th, 9:00 AM May 29th, 10:25 AM

Gambling Behavior Transitions in the Massachusetts Gambling Impact Cohort Study

Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada

Efforts in problem gambling prevention and treatment would benefit from etiological information about how the condition develops, progresses, and remits over time. This paper reports on findings from the first major cohort study of gambling in the United States and focuses on transitions within the cohort in the first three waves of the study.

The cohort was established with a stratified sample of 3,139 respondents who completed a multi-mode probability sample survey conducted in 2013/2014 with adult Massachusetts residents. Wave 2 was conducted in 2015 and Wave 3 in 2016.

After three waves, the most stable group was Recreational Gamblers with 70.2% remaining in this category. The next most stable group was Non-Gamblers with 48.1% remaining in this category across the three waves. One-third (32.8%) of Problem Gamblers remained in this group across all waves of the study and only 20.4% of At-Risk Gamblers remained in this category across the three waves.

Few members of the cohort abstained entirely from gambling even when they transitioned into less harmful gambling behavior. This suggests that ‘controlled’ gambling may not be incompatible with recovery from problem gambling and that abstinence from gambling need not be a primary treatment goal. This could improve treatment seeking by those experiencing gambling problems.

Implications:

This presentation describes transitions across the gambling behavior continuum in a cohort of Massachusetts adults. The finding that the majority of Problem Gamblers and At-Risk Gamblers move down and up the continuum relatively quickly has implications for problem gambling treatment and recovery support.