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Older problem gamblers may face greater suicide risk than younger counterparts, study finds
Date:9/15/2008

irrevocable lifetime ban. In 1996, Missouri became the first state in the United States to implement an exclusion program. Similar programs now operate in Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi and New Jersey, as well as six Canadian provinces and a handful of other countries, according to the researchers.

Other key differences among demographic groups:

  • Compared to younger adults, older adults were more likely to prefer non-strategic games such as slot machines, video poker and lottery tickets. The researchers noted that such preferences may accelerate the onset of gambling problems, particularly in light of the misperceptions of randomness and the probability of winning such games.
  • In addition, the older adults in this sample began gambling at a significantly later age than the other two groups. "In particular, older women began gambling at about 49 but did not experience serious gambling problems until around the age of 60," the researchers wrote. "In contrast, men began gambling more than a decade earlier, at 37, and also self-excluded around age 60."
  • Older adults are also less likely to receive mental health treatment, due to factors including inadequate Medicare coverage, under-diagnosis and a lack of physician referrals. "This reluctance to access care, combined with the increased potential for suicidal ideation, could increase the risk for self-harm among older adult problem gamblers without targeted interventions to assist them in accessing services," the researchers wrote.


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Contact: Kim Mills
kmills@apa.org
202-336-6048
American Psychological Association
Source:Eurekalert

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