Authors:Barbara Braun, Monika Ludwig, Pawel Sleczka, Gerhard Bühringer, and Ludwig Kraus
Background and aims
As only a minority of pathological gamblers (PGr) presents for treatment, further knowledge about help-seeking behavior is required in order to enhance treatment utilization. The present study investigated factors associated with treatment participation in gamblers in Germany. As subclinical pathological gamblers (SPGr, fulfilling one to four DSM-IV-criteria) are target of early intervention due to high risk of transition to pathological gambling, they were subject of special interest.
The study analyzed data from a general population survey (n = 234, SPGr: n = 198, PGr: n = 36) and a treatment study (n = 329, SPGr: n = 22, PGr: n = 307). A two-step weighting procedure was applied to ensure comparability of samples. Investigated factors included socio-demographic variables, gambling behavior, symptoms of pathological gambling and substance use.
In PGr, regular employment and non-German nationality were positively associated with being in treatment while gambling on the Internet and gaming machines and fulfilling more DSM-IV-criteria lowered the odds. In SPGr, treatment attendance was negatively associated with married status and alcohol consumption and positively associated with older age, higher stakes, more fulfilled DSM-IV criteria and regular smoking.
In accordance to expectations more severe gambling problems and higher problem awareness and/or external pressure might facilitate treatment entry. There are groups with lower chances of being in treatment: women, ethnic minorities, and SPGr. We propose target group specific offers, use of Internet-based methods as possible adaptions and/or extensions of treatment offers that could enhance treatment attendance.
Authors:Monika Ludwig, Ludwig Kraus, Stefanie Müller, Barbara Braun, and Gerhard Bühringer
This study examined changes in general population gambling in the light of two major amendments of the German gambling regulation, the Fifth Amendment of the German Gambling Ordinance (AGO) for commercial amusement machines with prizes (AWP) and the State Treaty on Gambling (STG) for gambling activities subject to the state monopoly.
Applying cross-sectional data from the 2006 and 2009 Epidemiological Survey of Substance Abuse (ESA), propensity-score-matched samples of 7,970 subjects and 3,624 12-month gamblers aged 18–64 years were used for analyses. Logistic regression was employed to examine changes in gambling controlling for possible confounding variables.
Overall participation in state gambling activities, participation in lotto as well as TV lottery decreased and gambling on Internet card games increased. No changes were found for any other gambling activity, 12-month prevalence of any gambling and pathological gambling. While weekly gambling declined, overall multiple gambling increased. Effects were similar in the total sample and among current gamblers.
Prohibiting specific gambling activities, e.g., Internet gambling, seem to be insufficient approaches to change gambling behavior. Supply reduction might need to be enhanced by changes in game characteristics and implementation of early intervention measures. However, long-term consequences are uncertain and further monitoring is needed.
Authors:Pawel Sleczka, Barbara Braun, Daniela Piontek, Gerhard Bühringer, and Ludwig Kraus
Background and Aims
DSM-5 provides nine diagnostic criteria for gambling disorder. All criteria have a pre-assumed equal diagnostic impact and are applied to all individuals and groups in an equal manner. The aims of the study are to analyse the structure underlying the diagnosis and to assess whether DSM-5 is equally applicable to different groups of gamblers.
Data from the 2009 German Epidemiological Survey of Substance Abuse and from a study on slot machine gamblers were used. Item Response Theory analysis was applied to estimate discrimination and severity parameters of the criteria. With the use of Differential Item Functioning analysis, potential criterion biases were analysed. We analysed data from 107 participants from the general population sample and 376 participants from the slot machine gamblers’ sample who answered a 19-item diagnostic questionnaire based on the DSM criteria for gambling disorder.
A single underlying factor, the severity of gambling disorder, was identified in both samples. In the general population sample the criteria of preoccupation and chasing were least severe and showed low discriminatory power. Bailout, withdrawal and jeopardized matters criteria had highest severity and discriminatory power. The comparison of the two samples revealed two criterion biases in the preoccupation and tolerance criteria.
The structure underlying the criteria is unidimensional but the disorder is manifested differently depending on disorder severity. The assumed equal impact of each criterion lacks support in the findings. The DSM-5 criteria measure a partially different construct in slot machine gamblers than in gamblers in the general population.
Authors:Pawel Sleczka, Barbara Braun, Bettina Grüne, Gerhard Bühringer, and Ludwig Kraus
Male sex, young age, and frequent gambling are considered as risk factors for gambling disorder (GD) and stress might be one of the triggers of gambling behavior among problem gamblers. Conversely, well-developed coping with stress might counteract gambling problems. The Proactive Coping Theory provides a promising approach for the further development of preventive and treatment measures. The objective of the study was to investigate different facets of proactive coping (PC) in young male gamblers.
Young men from Bavaria were recruited via the Munich citizens’ registry (n = 2,588) and Facebook invitations (n = 105). In total, 173 out of 398 individuals were positively screened for frequent gambling and/or signs of related problems and completed the baseline questionnaire of the Munich Leisure-time Study. Factors investigated include gambling problems, PC, impulsiveness, social support, and psychological distress.
Gambling problems were associated with lower levels of preventive coping as well as of adaptive reaction delay. The associations were also significant when controlled for impulsiveness and general psychological distress. Preventive coping moderated the association between social support and gambling problems.
Discussion and conclusions
Young men with gambling problems less frequently prevent the occurrence of stressors and more often react hasty when these occur. While the investigated group reported good social support, this factor was negatively associated with GD only among individuals with good preventive coping. Preventive coping poses a useful construct for selective prevention and treatment as it can be modified in professional interventions.
Authors:Franziska Motka, Bettina Grüne, Pawel Sleczka, Barbara Braun, Jenny Cisneros Örnberg, and Ludwig Kraus
Background and aims
Self-exclusion programs offer an intervention for individuals with problem gambling behavior. However, these programs are insufficiently used. This review describes sociodemographic features and gambling behavior of self-excluders as well as goals and motives for initiating self-exclusion from terrestrial and online gambling. In addition, use of further professional help and barriers to self-exclusion are examined.
Based on systematic literature search and quality assessment, n = 16 original studies (13 quantitative, 2 qualitative, and 1 mixed method) published between 1997 and 2017 in English or German language were analyzed. Results are presented for online and terrestrial gambling separately.
Online self-excluders were on average 10 years younger than terrestrial self-excluders. Self-exclusion was mainly motivated by financial problems, followed by feelings of losing control and problems with significant others. Financial problems and significant others were less important for online than for terrestrial gamblers. Main barriers for self-exclusion were complicated enrollment processes, lack of complete exclusion from all venues, little support from venue staff, and lack of adequate information on self-exclusion programs. Both self-excluders from terrestrial and online gambling had negative attitudes toward the need of professional addiction care.
To exploit the full potential of self-exclusion as a measure of gambler protection, its acceptance and its utilization need to be increased by target-group-specific information addressing financial issues and the role of significant others, simplifying the administrative processes, facilitating self-exclusion at an early stage of the gambling career, offering self-determined exclusion durations, and promoting additional use of professional addiction care.
Authors:Pawel Sleczka, Barbara Braun-Michl, and Ludwig Kraus
Background and aims
Money plays a central role in gambling, and understanding the different attitudes of gamblers towards it might benefit both prevention and treatment of gambling-related problems. This study describes the development of a new German measure of attitudes to money and the differences in these attitudes between male non-gamblers, occasional, frequent and problem gamblers. Furthermore, it investigates the cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between attitudes towards money and the severity of gambling disorder.
An online study was conducted among 2,584 men aged 18–25 years, recruited via the Munich citizen registry. Additionally, a sample of n = 105 Facebook users was included in part of the analyses. Frequent and problem gamblers were invited to a 12-month follow-up. Apart from gambling participation and related problems, the questionnaire included items from existing scales measuring attitudes to money.
Three factors underlying a new 12-item German Scale of Money Attitudes (SMAG) were identified: success, budgeting and evil. Compared with other groups, participants reporting any gambling problems scored highest in success and lowest in budgeting. Budgeting was associated with gambling-related problems in both cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses and strengthened the relationship between associating money with success and gambling disorder.
For problem gamblers, money is important as a personal symbol of success. This attitude has an especially negative effect on gambling-related problems in individuals who handle money irresponsibly. Spending and winning money might play an important role in maintaining self-esteem among gamblers and thus hinder their attempts to quit.
Authors:Julian Strizek, Josefine Atzendorf, Ludwig Kraus, Karin Monshouwer, Alexandra Puhm, and Alfred Uhl
Not much is known about the correlation between gaming problems and substance use across different countries. This paper presents cross-national analyses of different gaming indicators and their relationship to substance use.
Based on data from the 2015 ESPAD study, differences in the relationship between gaming and substance use across 35 countries were analysed using multi-level logistic regression, using substance use as an individual level predictor, economic wealth as a country-level predictor and a combined problem gaming indicator as the outcome.
Multi-level logistic regressions revealed significant correlations between individual substance use and gaming problems, which varied across countries and were moderated by economic wealth. Students who used alcohol, tobacco or cannabis and who lived in high-income countries had a smaller risk of scoring positively on a combined problem gaming indicator than students who used alcohol, tobacco or cannabis and who lived in less prosperous countries.
Different gaming indicators varied substantially across countries, with self-perceived gaming problems being more common in countries with a low prevalence of gaming. Significant cross-level effects demonstrate the need to take the societal context into account when the relationship between problem gaming and substance use is analysed. Prevention measures need to take the fact into account that patterns of substance use among problem gamers vary across countries.