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HEALTH / WELL-BEING

Gambling Problems and Military- and Health-Related Behaviour in UK Armed Forces Veterans

August, 2019
Article:

This paper explores the prevalence of problem gambling in UK veterans and non-veterans. The study aimed to investigate whether gambling was associated with length of service, common mental health disorders, substance abuse, or financial management history.  5,480 participants (of which 257 were veterans), were interviewed using the Adult Psychiatry Survey. The study produces many findings in particular that problem gambling was significantly higher in veterans than non-veterans, the study also found male veterans were significantly more likely than non-veterans to have experienced a traumatic event.

Abstract

Internationally, problem gambling is elevated in Armed Forces veterans compared to the general population. Here, we re-examined the prevalence of problem gambling in veterans and non-veterans residing in England using an established large dataset and investigated whether gambling was associated with length of service, common mental health disorders, substance abuse, or financial management history. Using the 2007 Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey, 257 post-national service veterans and 514 age- and sex-matched controls were compared. Veterans had significantly higher rates of problem gambling than non-veterans. Male veterans were more likely than non-veterans to have experienced a traumatic event. The relationship between veteran status and problem gambling was not explained by differences in mental health conditions, substance abuse, or financial management. No differences were found for length of service. Further research is required with larger samples targeting problem gambling and Armed Forces experience in the United Kingdom population using contemporary diagnostic criteria.

Full Reference

Roberts, E., Dighton, G., Fossey, M., Hogan, L., Kitchiner, N., Rogers, R. D. and Dymond, S., 2019. Gambling Problems and Military- and Health-Related Behaviour in UK Armed Forces Veterans. Military Behavioural Health. doi: 10.1080/21635781.2019.1644263.

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