Gambling and Longitudinal Studies

Gambling is the act of betting or staking something of value, including money, on an uncertain event. It can also include activities such as playing casino games or sports betting. People gamble for many reasons, including to try and win money, to relieve boredom or stress, or to socialize with friends. Some people may become addicted to gambling and require professional treatment.

Longitudinal studies of gambling are difficult to conduct because of a number of challenges. These include the difficulty of maintaining research team continuity over a lengthy time period; sample attrition and bias; and the fact that gambling can cause impacts that do not affect only the gambler (e.g., financial, labor and health/well-being). Additionally, it can be challenging to determine what portion of the gambling impacts are a result of the actual gambling activities themselves versus a result of other factors such as aging or period effects.

Compulsive gambling can cause significant harm to a person’s relationships. It can strain friendships, marriages and family relationships as people who are addicted to gambling often put their habits ahead of those of others. They can also go to extreme lengths to finance their addiction, which can lead to debt and even criminal activity. Psychological therapy, such as cognitive behaviour therapy or psychodynamic counselling, can be helpful in treating gambling disorders. Psychotherapy can help people identify and change unhealthy emotions, thoughts and behaviors. It can also address underlying mental health issues, such as anxiety or depression.