Betting on Life: Associations Between Significant Life Events and Gambling Trajectories Among Gamblers with the Intent to Quit

  • Alexandra Godinho
  • Vladyslav Kushnir
  • David C. Hodgins
  • Christian S. Hendershot
  • John A. Cunningham
Original Paper

Abstract

Considerable evidence has suggested that problem gambling may be transitory and episodic, with gamblers routinely moving in and out of clinical thresholds. Findings in qualitative and quantitative studies have converged on identifying preliminary evidence for the role of life events as motivators and contributing factors for gambling changes over time. The aim of this study was to conduct an exploratory analysis of the relationship between life events, their respective experience as positive or negative, and gambling trajectories among problem gamblers intending to quit. Life event occurrence and ratings as positive or negative, and changes in gambling severity were analyzed over a 12-month period for 204 adult problem gamblers intending to reduce or quit their gambling. Overall, mixed effects models revealed several relationships between life events and both the magnitude and direction of gambling change over time. In particular, gamblers who experienced a greater number of positive events or specific events such as legal events, the adoption/loss of a child, or negative changes to their social relationships, finances, work environments or social/health activities were more likely to exhibit greater gambling reductions over time. Conversely, gamblers who experienced a greater number of negative events, such as family bereavement, the dissolution of a marriage, or negative changes to their residence exhibited smaller gambling reductions or increases in gambling severity. Possible mechanisms which may explain the findings and the importance of examining the subjective experience of life events are discussed. Recommendations for future studies examining associations between life events and gambling trajectories are provided.

Keywords

Gambling trajectory Life events Problem gambling Prospective 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This work was supported by Gambling Research Exchange Ontario. The organization did not have a role in the study design; collection, analysis and interpretation of data; as well as in writing the article and decision to submit the article for publication. We thank Marcos Sanches for his assistance with statistical analyses.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10899_2018_9767_MOESM1_ESM.docx (33 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 33 kb)

References

  1. Abbott, M. W., Williams, G. C., & Volberg, R. A. (1999). Seven years on: A follow-up study of frequent and problem gamblers living in the community (Vol. Research Report No. 2). Wellington: Department of Internal Affairs.Google Scholar
  2. Bellringer, M., Abbott, M. W., Coombes, R., Brown, R., McKenna, C., Dyall, L., et al. (2009). Problem gambling—Formative links between gambling (including problem gambling) and crime in new zealand. Auckland: Auckland University of Technology.Google Scholar
  3. Bergevin, T., Gupta, R., Derevensky, J., & Kaufman, F. (2006). Adolescent gambling: Understanding the role of stress and coping. Journal of Gambling Studies, 22, 195–208.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Billi, R., Stone, C. A., Marden, P., & Yeung, K. (2014). The victorian gambling study: A longitudinal study of gambling and health in Victoria, 2008–2012. Melbourne: Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation.Google Scholar
  5. Blaszczynski, A., & Nower, L. (2002). A pathways model of problem and pathological gambling. Addiction, 97(5), 487–499.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Cunningham, J. A., Wild, T. C., & Koski-Jannes, A. (2005). Motivation and life events: A prospective natural history pilot study of problem drinkers in the community. Addictive Behaviours, 30, 160–1606.Google Scholar
  7. Currie, S. R., Hodgins, D. C., & Casey, D. M. (2013). Validity of the problem gambling severity index interpretive categories. Journal of Gambling Studies, 29(2), 311–327.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Dawson, D. A., Grant, B. F., Stinson, F. S., & Chou, P. S. (2006). Maturing out of alcohol dependence: The impact of transitional life events. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 67(2), 195–203.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Dawson, D. A., Grant, B. F., Stinson, F. S., & Zhou, Y. (2005). Effectiveness of the derived Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT-C) in screening for alcohol use disorders and risk drinking in the US general population. Alcoholism, Clinical and Experimental Research, 29(5), 844–854.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. el-Guebaly, N., Casey, D. M., Currie, S. R., Hodgins, D. C., Schopflocher, D. P., Smith, G. J., et al. (2015). The leisure, lifestyle, & lifecycle project (LLLP): A longitudinal study of gambling in Alberta. Final report for the Alberta Gambling Research Institute (AGRI).Google Scholar
  11. Ferris, J., & Wynne, H. (2001). The Canadian problem gambling index: Final report. Ottawa: Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse.Google Scholar
  12. Godinho, A., Kushnir, V., & Cunningham, J. A. (2016). Unfaithful findings: Identifying careless responding in addictions research. Addiction, 111(6), 955–956.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Grant, K. R. (2010). Problem gambling and its impact on families. International Gambling Studies, 6(1), 31–60.Google Scholar
  14. Hodgins, D. C., & el-Guebaly, N. (2000). Natural and treatment-assisted recovery from gambling problems: A comparison of resolved and active gamblers. Addiction, 95, 777–789.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Hodgins, D. C., Makarchuk, K., El-Guebaly, N., & Peden, N. (2002). Why problem gamblers quit gambling: A comparison of methods and samples. Addiction Research & Theory, 10(2), 203–218.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Holdsworth, L., Nuske, E., & Hing, N. (2013). The relationship between gambling, significant life events, co-morbidity and associated social factors. Melbourne: Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation.Google Scholar
  17. Holdsworth, L., Nuske, E., & Hung, N. (2015). A grounded theory of the influence of significant life events, psychological co-morbidities and related social factors on gambling involvement. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 13, 257–273.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hosmer, D. W., Lemeshow, S., & May, S. (2008). Applied survival analysis: Regression modeling of time-to-event data. Hoboken: Wiely.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Kushnir, V., Cunningham, J. A., & Hodgins, D. C. (2013). A prospective natural history study of quitting or reducing gambling with or without treatment: Protocol. JMIR Research Protocols, 2(2), e51.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  20. Laplante, D. A., Nelson, S. E., Labrie, R. A., & Shaffer, H. J. (2008). Stability and progerssion of disordered gambling: Lessons learned from longitudinal studies. The Canadian Journal of Psychaitry, 53(1), 52–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Lightsey, O. R., & Hulsey, C. D. (2002). Impulsivity, coping, stress, and problem gambling among university students. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 49(2), 202–211.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Luce, C., Kairouz, S., Nadeau, L., & Monson, E. (2016a). Life events and problem gambling severity: A prospective study of adult gamblers. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 30(8), 922–930.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Luce, C., Nadeau, L., & Kairouz, S. (2016b). Pathways and transitions of gamblers over two years. International Gambling Studies, 16(3), 357–372.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Pulford, J., Bellringer, M., Abbott, M. W., Clarke, D., Hodgins, D. C., & Williams, J. (2009). Reasons for seeking help for a gambling problem: The experiences of gamblers who have sought specialist assistance and the perceptions of those who have not. Journal of Gambling Studies, 25(1), 19–32.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Reith, G., & Dobbie, F. (2012). Lost in the game: Narratives of addiction and identity in recovery from problem gambling. Addiction Research & Theory, 20(6), 511–521.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Reith, G., & Dobbie, F. (2013). Gambling careers: A longitudinal, qualitative study of gambling behaviour. Addiction Research & Theory, 21(5), 376–390.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Slutske, W. S. (2006). Natural recovery and treatment-seeking in pathological gambling: Results of two U.S. national surveys. American Journal of Psychiatry, 163, 297–302.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Sobell, L. C., Sobell, M. B., Riley, D. M., Schuller, R., Pavan, D. S., Cancilla, A., et al. (1988). The reliability of alcohol abusers’ self-reports of drinking and life events that occurred in the distant past. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 49(3), 225–232.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Suurvali, H., Hodgins, D. C., & Cunningham, J. A. (2010). Motivators for resolving or seeking help for gambling problems: A review of the empirical literature. Journal of Gambling Studies, 26(1), 1–33.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. Tucker, J. A., Vuchinich, R. E., & Gladsjo, J. A. (1994). Environment events surrounding natural recovery from alcohol-related problems. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 55(4), 401–411.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Wiebe, J., Maitland, S. B., Hodgins, D. C., Davey, S., & Gottlieb, B. (2009). Transitions and stability of problem gambling behaviours. Winnipeg: Addictions Foundation of Manitoba.Google Scholar
  32. Williams, A. D., Grisham, J. R., Erskine, A., & Cassedy, E. (2012). Deficits in emotion regulation associated with pathological gambling. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 51, 223–238.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Williams, R. J., Hann, R. G., Schopflocher, D. P., West, B., McLaughlin, P., White, N., et al. (2015). Quinte longitudinal study of gambling and problem gambling. Guelph, ON: Report prepared for the Ontario Problem Gambling Research Centre.Google Scholar
  34. Williams, R. J., Royston, J., & Hagen, B. F. (2005). Gambling and problem gambling within forensic populations. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 32(6), 665–689.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Yi, S., & Kanetkar, V. (2011). Coping with guilt and shame after gambling loss. Journal of Gambling Studies, 27, 317–387.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexandra Godinho
    • 1
    • 2
  • Vladyslav Kushnir
    • 1
    • 3
  • David C. Hodgins
    • 4
  • Christian S. Hendershot
    • 1
    • 5
    • 6
  • John A. Cunningham
    • 1
    • 6
    • 7
  1. 1.Institute for Mental Health Policy ResearchCentre for Addiction and Mental HealthTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Dalla Lana School of Public HealthUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  3. 3.Leslie Dan Faculty of PharmacyUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  4. 4.Department of PsychologyUniversity of CalgaryCalgaryCanada
  5. 5.Campbell Family Mental Health Research InstituteCentre for Addiction and Mental HealthTorontoCanada
  6. 6.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  7. 7.National Institute for Mental Health ResearchAustralian National UniversityCanberraAustralia

Personalised recommendations