Gender Differences in Gambling Exposure and At-risk Gambling Behavior

  • Elizabeth CarneiroEmail author
  • Hermano Tavares
  • Marcos Sanches
  • Ilana Pinsky
  • Raul Caetano
  • Marcos Zaleski
  • Ronaldo Laranjeira
Original Paper


This study aimed to evaluate the differences in gambling exposure and onset of gambling problems among male and female gamblers by comparing their demographic and behavioral profiles. This study utilized data from the gambling section of the First Brazilian National Alcohol Survey and Related Behaviors. Interviews were conducted with 3007 participants who were recruited after screening for at-risk gambling behaviors. Individuals who tested positive for at-risk gambling behaviors completed the Gambling Progression Questionnaire comprising items on games of chance, and were evaluated using the DSM-IV pathological gambling criteria. The participants’ “lifetime gambling exposure” was 12.5%, with 4% having experienced gambling problems during their lifetime. Majority of the male at-risk gamblers (78%) reported that they began gambling in their 20 s and took approximately 3 years to start experiencing gambling-related problems. Contrastingly, female at-risk gamblers started gambling in their 30 s and they took about 12 years to start experiencing gambling-related problems. The present results show that men were 2.3 times more at risk of gambling exposure and 3.6 times more likely to experience gambling-related problems. Male at-risk male gamblers seemed to be lonelier and to have a low socioeconomic status, while women seemed to have lower income and social insertion. Considering these significant differences, more studies evaluating gender differences in gambling behavior are necessary.


Pathological gambling Gambling gender differences At-risk gambling Gambling exposure 



This study was partially funded by the National Anti-Drug Secretariat (SENAD), Grant # 017/2003.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interests.

Ethical Approval

The study was approved by the Research Ethics Committee of the Federal University of São Paulo, located in the city of São Paulo, Brazil.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Institute of Public Policies on Alcohol and Drugs (INPAD)National Council of Technological and Scientific Development (CNPq)São PauloBrazil
  2. 2.Addictions and Other Impulse Control Disorders UnitSanta Casa da MisericórdiaRio de JaneiroBrazil
  3. 3.Gambling Outpatient Unit, Institute and Department of PsychiatryUniversity of São PauloSão PauloBrazil
  4. 4.Centre for Addiction and Mental HealthTorontoCanada
  5. 5.Federal University of São PauloSão PauloBrazil
  6. 6.University of Texas School of Public HealthDallasUSA
  7. 7.Federal University of Santa CatarinaFlorianópolisBrazil

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