Differences in Socio-Demographic Factors Related to Compulsive Gambling and Alcohol Addiction

Article excerpt

Summary - The aim of this study was to compare socio-demographic data related to gambling and alcohol addicts in order to determine whether the same factors influence the onset of both types of addiction and whether both types of addiction cause similar family and social consequences. The study was conducted during 2007 and 2008. We examined two groups, the first group consisted of 60 gambling addicts and the second group had 60 alcohol addicts, both in the initial phase of treatment. Our results show that compulsive gamblers were significantly younger than alcohol addicts, had primary or secondary education, were mostly single, had one or no child and mentioned as the reason for their hazardous behavior the need to feel better. They showed considerably less aggression compared to alcohol addicts. Alcohol addicts were older than gamblers and had a higher education. Also, a high percentage of them was married. There was a greater number of divorcees among alcohol addicts than among gamblers. Alcohol addicts said the reason for their drinking was their dissatisfaction. Additionally, they are more aggressive than compulsive gamblers.

Keywords: alcohol addiction; compulsive gambling

INTRODUCTION

Socio-demographic characteristics among alcohol abusers have been the subject of many scientific studies. Professional degree, work status, marital status, number of children, age, the addiction period, life and social standard are in direct correlation with alcohol induced disorders and problems.1?2

It is well known from previously published publications3-7 that alcoholism affects all social layers. Heavy alcohol drinking can seriously affect young people's lives and prevent them from finishing school, causing long term consequences in their future life. Older people are often satisfied with lower quality jobs without being interested in additional education and training. The stigma of alcoholism can also reduce the chances of graduating from school. In their study, Marusic et al.8 quote that alcoholics have a lower degree of education compared to control groups of non-alcoholics. Finally, alcohol abuse can lead to premature disability and early retirement. Alcoholics often lose their ability to work in the most productive period of their life: between 30 and 50 years of age. Their absence from work is nearly 2 months per year, which makes a total of around 10 years in their active life. The quality at the workplace is also affected by alcohol addiction. Alcoholism can sometimes be professionally induced, for example in case of workers who work with alcohol beverages (barmen), workers in the alcohol production industry, winegrowers etc. Some other professions can also be affected by alcoholism like field workers, travelling salesman, health care workers, veterinarians, etc.9

On the other hand, married people run a lower risk of alcoholism compared to the divorced or single.12 Alcoholism, like schizophrenia, has a better prognosis if the patient is protected by the family.13

Kosicek14 thinks that marriage is a potential source of greater satisfaction when it comes to our basic life needs. Marriage can ensure a regular sexual life and its enjoyment. It can improve an individual's life to the extent to provide him or her satisfaction, complete psychological relaxation, and a possibility for a normal sexual life.

Thaller15 pointed out that not coming home at a certain time, avoiding talking about family problems, having a bad attitude towards one's partner or children, ignoring financial problems in family, ignoring children's education, changing jobs or shifting the blame on someone else are just some of the factors that can destroy the family's harmony, induce psychopathology and affect the psychological health of every family member.

There seems to be a growing awareness ofthe gambling problem in the Republic of Croatia. For now, there are no scientific researches that would confirm the assumption of the increase of this problem as well as a state register of treated gambling addicts. …