For many former members of the Armed Forces, the transition from active service to civilian life can be challenging: it is well known, for instance, that transitioning Armed Forces veterans are more likely to engage in high-risk behaviours like drug and alcohol use and excessive gambling. This research probes further into gambling problems affecting UK veterans.
International evidence shows elevated rates of problem gambling in former members of the Armed Forces (i.e. veterans). To date, no research has investigated gambling problems in United Kingdom Armed Forces veterans. We analysed an existing large dataset, the 2007 Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey. Post-national service Armed Forces veterans were compared with matched controls on gambling problems, mental health, substance abuse, and financial management. Armed Forces veterans were more than eight times more likely than non-veterans to exhibit problem gambling. Male veterans were more likely than male non-veterans to have ever experienced a traumatic event. The difference in problem gambling between veterans and non-veterans was not explained by prior differences in mental health, substance abuse, or financial management problems. In conclusion, UK Armed Forces veterans are more likely than non-veterans to experience gambling problems and these problems are not explained by prior mental health, addiction or debt and money worries. Given the preliminary nature of the findings, further research on the nature and extent of gambling problems in current and former members of the UK Armed Forces is needed.
Roberts, E., Dighton, G., Fossey, M., Hogan, L., Kitchiner, N., Rogers, R. and Dymond, S., 2007. Gambling Problems in UK Armed Forces Veterans: Preliminary Findings. Available at: <https://s31949.pcdn.co/wp-content/uploads/gambling-armed-forces-veterans-2007-adult-psychiatric-morbidity-survey.pdf>.