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BACKGROUND: Gambling-related harms subsume a range of adverse consequences for individuals, as well as interpersonal harms; the latter including effects of gambling on families and primary support networks. These ‘collateral’ effects are presumed to be widespread and may account for much of the public health impact of gambling. Notwithstanding, there have been few studies of such implications for family or interpersonal adjustment, with existing research characterised mainly by qualitative designs, clinical samples and cross-sectional methods. The overall aims of this project were thus to evaluate (1) whether gambling problems predict overall trajectories of change in family or interpersonal adjustment, and (2) whether annual measures of gambling problems predict time-specific decreases in family or interpersonal adjustment, when measured concurrently and prospectively. DESIGN: The investigation was based on secondary analyses of data from the Quinte Longitudinal Study (QLS), which is a prospective survey of n = 4,211 community-dwelling adults from the Quinte region of Ontario. The study involved random digit dialling of telephone numbers around the city of Belleville, and recruitment of both ‘general population’ and ‘at risk’ groups (the latter oversampling people who were likely to develop problems with gambling). Five waves of assessment were conducted (2006-2010), and involved repeated administration of the Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI), which defined at-risk gambling (ARG: PGSI 1-2) and moderate-risk / problem gambling (MR/PG: PGSI 3+). Outcomes included: (1) family functioning, assessed using a 7-point rating scale of overall functioning; (2) social support, assessed using items from the Nonsupport subscale of the Personality Assessment Inventory; and (3) relationship satisfaction, measured by the Kansas Marital Satisfaction Scale. Latent Trajectory Modelling (LTM) was used to estimate the overall trajectories of change in family and interpersonal adjustment, which were predicted by gambling problems at baseline; and also how time-specific problems predicted deviations from these underlying trajectories. RESULTS: Baseline measures of ARG and MR/PG did not predict rates of change in overall trajectories of family or interpersonal adjustment. Rather, the annual measures of MR/PG predicted time-specific and concurrent decreases in family functioning (Estimate: -0.11, p<.01), social support (Estimate: -0.28, p<.01), and relationship satisfaction (Estimate: -0.53, p<.01). ARG predicted concurrent levels of family functioning (Estimate: -0.07, p<.01), but not social support or relationship satisfaction. There were time-lagged effects of MR/PG on subsequent levels of family functioning (Estimate: -0.12, p<.01) and social support (Estimate: -0.24, p<.01), but not relationship satisfaction. These significant effects were all independent of co-occurring levels of depression, anxiety, and substance use problems. CONCLUSIONS: In a longitudinal study of Canadian adults, gambling problems did not predict overall trajectories of change in family or interpersonal adjustment. Rather, the annual measures of MR/PG predicted time-specific and concurrent decreases in all outcomes, and lower family functioning and social support across waves. These results provide evidence of public health impacts of gambling problems, through demonstration of negative implications for family and interpersonal functioning, when considered over time and in a community sample. They support a view of gambling problems as precursors to short-term crises in families and primary support networks, which may be capable of adapting to such ‘shocks’ in the longer term. These short-term effects of gambling problems suggest a need for initiatives to support families, in particular, during time of crisis.
|Place of Publication||Ontario|
|Publisher||Gambling Research Exchange Ontario (GREO)|
|Number of pages||50|
|Publication status||Published - 6 Jun 2016|
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Implications of gambling and problem gambling for family and social adjustment: Secondary analyses of data from the Quinte Longitudinal Study (QLS)
Cowlishaw, S. M.
5/02/15 → 5/06/16