Double Jeopardy: Older Women and Problem Gambling
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AbstractThe growth in legal gambling in North America, indeed worldwide, has been dramatic in the last three decades. Increased availability of gambling opportunities, as well as social acceptability, has led to a huge growth in the number of older adults who are gambling. Between 1975 and 1998, a large study by the University of Chicago found that the number of older adults (65+) gambling had more than doubled (National Opinion Research Center [NORC], 1999). Research on older adults who gamble or who have gambling problems is just starting to emerge and little is known specifically about older women who gamble, why they gamble or how many are at risk for developing problems. In this article, the existing literature on older women, here defined as including women 55 years and older, and problem gambling will be reviewed. Risk factors associated with age and gender, as well as gambling industry marketing strategies and electronic game machine factors, may place older women at heightened risk for developing gambling problems, especially related to electronic gaming machines (EGMs)1. Problem gambling is a "very, very hidden issue" (McNeilly, 2000, as cited in Berns, 1998) amongst the older adult population and research suggests that older women are even less likely to seek help. More research is necessary to inform public awareness campaigns, treatment interventions and social policies regarding older women and gambling.
Copyright © Masood Zangeneh, Editor-in-Chief, International Journal of Mental Health & Addiction