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  • Author or Editor: Rachel Volberg x
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Background and aims

Pathological gambling (PG) is an impulse control disorder. This study assessed the burden of co-occurring behavioral addictions and mental health disorders in treatment-seeking patients and estimated the likelihood of receiving care for these disorders by clinician specialty.

Methods

Study data were derived from the Massachusetts All-Payer Claims Database, a representative database, for the period 2009–2013. The sample included commercially insured adult residents of Massachusetts. Univariate and multivariate logistic regressions were used to estimate the likelihood of provision of care by clinician specialty adjusting for patient’s demographic characteristics and level of care. Bonferroni correction was applied to adjust for multiple testing.

Results

The study sample included 869 patients. Treatment-seeking patients who had a diagnosis of PG were mostly males (71%), aged 45–54 years (26.7%) and enrolled in a health maintenance organization (47%). The most prevalent co-occurring disorders among patients with PG as principal diagnosis were anxiety disorders (28%), mood disorders (26%), and substance use disorders (18%). PG was associated with a more than twofold likelihood of receiving care from social workers and psychologists (p < .05). Depressive disorders were associated with a three times greater likelihood of receiving care from primary care physicians (PCPs) (p < .05). Having three and four or more diagnosis was associated with a greater likelihood of receiving care from PCPs.

Discussion and conclusions

Psychiatric and substance use disorders are prevalent among treatment-seeking pathological gamblers. The likelihood of receiving care from specialty clinicians significantly varies by clinical diagnosis and patient clinical complexity.

Open access

Abstract

Background and aims

The Prevention Paradox (PP) suggests that a large proportion of aggregate harm from gambling occurs to people who do not have a gambling disorder. However, it has not yet been tested using a population-representative sample. We aimed to test whether the PP applies to gambling in Finland. The prevalence rates of diverse harmful consequences from gambling were surveyed amongst a population-representative sample of past-year gamblers.

Methods

The study used first wave data (N = 7,186) of Finnish Gambling Harms survey, collected via online and postal surveys in 2017. A subset of 3,795 adults (≥18 years), who had gambled at least monthly in 2016, were selected for analysis.

Measurements

Gambling-related harms were evaluated with the 72-item Harms Checklist. Problem and Pathological Gambling Measure (PPGM) measured respondents’ probable disordered gambling from the subset of items for impaired control (4 questions) and other issues (3 questions).

Findings

Consistent with previous findings, the majority of harms were reported by those in the less severe PPGM categories (i.e. scoring <5). However, considering each domain separately, this was true only for financial, emotional/psychological, and work/study harms. The PP was not supported for health, relationship, or social deviance harms.

Conclusions

The population prevalence of the most serious harms (e.g. unsafe living conditions) is concentrated among those with severe impaired control issues. However, even excluding the ∼15% of harms occurring to occasional gamblers, most financial, emotional and work/study impacts occur to those with lower levels of control issues. Efforts at harm reduction should focus on the entire spectrum of issues that people experience from their gambling.

Open access
Authors: Victoria Manning, Nicki. A. Dowling, Stuart Lee, Simone Rodda, Joshua Benjamin Bernard Garfield, Rachel Volberg, Jayashri Kulkarni and Dan Ian Lubman

Background and aims

Relatively little is known about co-occurring gambling problems and their overlap with other addictive behaviors among individuals attending mental health services. We aimed to determine rates of gambling and substance use problems in patients accessing mental health services in Victoria, Australia.

Methods

A total of 837 adult patients were surveyed about their gambling and administered standardized screening tools for problem gambling and harmful tobacco, alcohol, and drug use. Prevalence of gambling problems was estimated and regression models used to determine predictors of problem gambling.

Results

The gambling participation rate was 41.6% [95% CI = 38.2–44.9]. The Problem Gambling Severity Index identified 19.7% [CI = 17.0–22.4] as “non-problem gamblers,” 7.2% [CI = 5.4–8.9] as “low-risk” gamblers, 8.4% [CI = 6.5–10.2] as “moderate-risk” gamblers, and 6.3% [CI = 4.7–8.0] as “problem gamblers.” One-fifth (21.9%) of the sample and 52.6% of all gamblers were identified as either low-risk, moderate-risk, or problem gamblers (PGs). Patients classified as problem and moderate-risk gamblers had significantly elevated rates of nicotine and illicit drug dependence (p < .001) according to short screening tools. Current diagnosis of drug use (OR = 4.31 [CI = 1.98–9.37]), borderline personality (OR = 2.59 [CI = 1.13–5.94]), bipolar affective (OR = 2.01 [CI = 1.07–3.80]), and psychotic (OR = 1.83 [CI = 1.03–3.25]) disorders were significant predictors of problem gambling.

Discussion and conclusions

Patients were less likely to gamble, but eight times as likely to be classified as PG, relative to Victoria’s adult general population. Elevated rates of harmful substance use among moderate-risk and PG suggest overlapping vulnerability to addictive behaviors. These findings suggest mental health services should embed routine screening into clinical practice, and train clinicians in the management of problem gambling.

Open access
Authors: Margo Hilbrecht, David Baxter, Max Abbott, Per Binde, Luke Clark, David C. Hodgins, Darrel Manitowabi, Lena Quilty, Jessika SpÅngberg, Rachel Volberg, Douglas Walker and Robert J. Williams

Abstract

Background and aims

The Conceptual Framework of Harmful Gambling moves beyond a symptoms-based view of harm and addresses a broad set of factors related to the risks and effects of gambling harmfully at the individual, family, and community levels. Coauthored by international research experts and informed by multiple stakeholders, Gambling Research Exchange (GREO) facilitated the framework development in 2013 and retains responsibility for regular updates and mobilization. This review article presents information about the revised version of the Conceptual Framework of Harmful Gambling completed in late 2018.

Methods

We describe eight interrelated factors depicted in the framework that represent major themes in gambling ranging from the specific (gambling environment, exposure, gambling types, and treatment resources) to the general (cultural, social, psychological, and biological influences). After outlining the framework development and collaborative process, we highlight new topics for the recent update that reflect changes in the gambling landscape and prominent discourses in the scientific community. Some of these topics include social and economic impacts of gambling, and a new model of understanding gambling related harm.

Discussion and conclusions

We address the relevance of the CFHG to the gambling and behavioral addictions research community. Harm-based frameworks have been undertaken in other areas of addiction that can both inform and be informed by a model dedicated to harmful gambling. Further, the framework brings a multi-disciplinary perspective to bear on antecedents and factors that co-occur with harmful gambling.

Open access