This study investigated the characteristics of people who transition into, and out of, low- and moderate-risk gambling. Using existing data, the researchers examined transitions:
- into, and out of, low- and moderate-risk gambling from non-gambling and non-problem gambling (data from three waves of the Tasmanian Longitudinal Gambling Study)
- to low- and moderate-risk gambling from problem gambling (data from a sample of people experiencing problem gambling engaged in an online self-directed gambling program).
Key findings of Project 1 included:
- Gambling-related motivations and triggers, including gambling for recreation and the effects of positive and negative moods, were consistently related to transitions to and from low- and moderate-risk gambling.
- Hazardous alcohol use and gambling for coping reasons predicted transitions to risk.
- Accessing help for mental health, and lower levels of confidence in limiting/stopping gambling, were associated with a greater likelihood of transitioning to risk, and a reduced likelihood of transitioning out of risk.
- Transitioning out of risk was more likely among participants who:
- gambled less frequently in situations when tempted or when worried about debt
- had not accessed help for mental health
- had greater confidence to limit/stop gambling
- rated limiting/stopping gambling as less of a priority.
- There were few differences in the profiles of those who transitioned to or from low- and moderate-risk gambling. They generally had low rates of help-seeking and did not regard their gambling as a potential issue.
Key findings of Project 2 included:
- The only predictor of transitioning from problem gambling to low- or moderate-risk gambling was having received face-to-face or distance-based support for gambling in the past month.
- Participants transitioning to low- or moderate-risk gambling reported fewer gambling-related harms and greater confidence to limit/stop gambling.
By providing evidence of a range of risk and protective factors for gambling harm, this study can inform prevention initiatives. The positive influence of face-to-face and distance-based help-seeking in reducing risk reinforces the importance of promoting these support options.
The relationship between help-seeking for mental health and gambling risk transitions has implications for screening in mental health settings.
Merkouris, S, Dowling, N, Rodda, S & Youssef, G 2020, Transitioning into and out of low- and moderate-risk gambling: predictors and profiles, Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation, Melbourne.