Differences in Socio-Demographic Factors Related to Compulsive Gambling and Alcohol Addiction
Ilic, Spomenko, Zoricic, Zoran, Torre, Robert, Alcoholism
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
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. The gambling effects are similar to the drug abuse effects - considering the unfavorable epidemiologic trends as well as the government's lack of concern, it is necessary to take some measures to protect the youth and to address the problem publicly.16 Treatment and therapy programs for alcoholics are well defined, which is not the case for gamblers.
The gambling industry has a marketing focus on young population, therefore it is not by chance that authors17-19 in their researches analyze teenagers' attitudes, expectations, success at school, behavior and aggressiveness in relation to compulsive gambling. Besides a tendency towards aggressiveness and violence, the forensic aspect of gambling addiction is emphasized, just like in alcoholism.20
Gambling addiction and abuse are characteristic of all age structures and social groups as well, while the lower quality of marriages and number of divorces are significantly higher than in general population.
We are asking ourselves whether there are different socio-demographic characteristics in groups of gambling addicts and alcohol addicts.
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.
SUBJECTS AND METHODS
The study was conducted during 2007 and 2008. Two groups were examined: the first group consisted of 60 gambling addicts and the second group had 60 alcohol addicts, both in the initial phase ofthe treatment. Diagnoses of alcohol and gambling addiction were defined by valid ICD-10 and DSM-IV criteria. We took all male patients (there were no women addicts) who were treated for 6 months in Day hospital at the Department of Psychiatry, in University Hospital ?Sestre milosrdnice?, Zagreb, as well as in clubs of gambling addicts. Cross sectional structure of study was used, i.e. the prevalence of the 6-month-period. A specially designed questionnaire was used for the socio-demographic survey. All the examinees had been previously introduced to the study and questionnaire so that they could participate adequately. The participation was voluntary and anonymous. All the participants signed informed consent. We did not ask an Ethics Committee for the permission to do the research. The structure of the study is a quote sample.
We chose the standardized representation of scales by Chi-square test method, shown by a common table with Fisher's exact test (20 groups for less than 5 subjects).
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
As the table illustrates, there is an obvious predomination of compulsive gamblers in the age group less than 30 years of age, while alcohol addicts dominate the age group 40-50 years. The results obtained were to be expected and they confirm Marusic's research8 and Lang's5 claiming that it takes ten years for the development of alcohol addiction. This indicates that the period from occasional gambling to gambling addiction is shorter. This result can be interpreted in the context of gambling industries' aggressive marketing campaigns directed towards younger population, as it was shown by Kljenak's research.17 It is this piece of information that speaks in favor of the rapid development of compulsive gambling and emphasizes the need for an intensive prevention and early detection of gamblers' excessive and risky gambling habits. Early diagnostic criteria should be set especially among young people affected by the problem of pathological gambling. Hrvatic24 stressed this very conclusion and the need for secondary prevention so that risky behavior could be detected as early as possible.
The results of our study on older alcohol addicts compared to compulsive gamblers were expected and confirm a very well known fact that gradual development from socially acceptable drinking to alcohol addiction lasts at least ten years. On the other hand, a vast majority of compulsive gamblers are younger than 30, which indicates that the transformation from an occasional gambler into a compulsive one is considerably shorter than the transformation from socially acceptable drinking into alcohol addiction. This result may also be interpreted in the manner that young people are the target group of gambling industry's marketing campaigns. This result, which supports the fact that the development of compulsive gambling is rapid, suggests the need for strong preventive measures and an early detection of excessive and hazardous gamblers.
Since there were more minors and juveniles among compulsive gamblers, their expected education was significantly lower because they did not even manage to complete their education. Moreover, more single people and more people with no or one child were expected among compulsive gamblers. On the other hand, there were significantly more people with two or more children, and more divorced people and widowers among alcohol addicts. A greater number of divorcees among alcohol addicts could be explained by a longer period of dysfunctional marriage, which is much longer than the early stage of marriage among gamblers.
As far as the employment is concerned, the greatest percentage of employed people was in the group of compulsive gamblers, whereas the group of alcohol addicts had the biggest percentage of retired people, followed by the unemployed and the smallest percentage of employed people. These results could be explained as a consequence of fhe Croatian transitional society where younger people can easily find their jobs, while the middle-aged alcohol addicts with poor health lose their jobs and retire early. These facts support earlier Hudolin's findings which say that alcoholics usually retire 12 years earlier than non-alcoholics.23
While the majority of compulsive gamblers gamble alone, most of alcohol addicts drink in company. It is known that fhe model of male drinking is drinking in company, whereas young compulsive gamblers choose games in order to hide from society's criticism and condemnation.
The majority of compulsive gamblers stated the reasons for their hazardous behavior were the need to feel better and the habit. This could be a rationalization of their demand for friendships and initial glamour which are related to gambling. Alcohol addicts, on the other hand, claimed that fhe main reason for their drinking was the need to feel better. While gambling is related to entertainment and pleasure, alcohol is a means of improving one's present dissatisfaction, i.e. for using its sedative and anxiolytic effects.
The results of this research suggest that aggressive behavior among compulsive gamblers is an exception, whereas alcohol addicts are frequently aggressive, as proved in previous studies.19
In conclusion, our results show that compulsive gamblers are significantly younger than alcohol addicts, mainly single, have primary or secondary education, have one or no child and mention the need to feel better and the habit as reasons for their behavior. Furthermore, they are substantially less aggressive than alcohol addicts.
Alcohol addicts are older than gamblers, have a higher education, however there is a bigger percentage of retired and unemployed people among alcohol addicts. They said they drank to improve their dissatisfaction. Moreover, there are significantly more aggressive people among alcohol addicts than among compulsive gamblers.
RAZLIKE U SOCIODEMOGRAFSKIM CIMBENICIMA POVEZANIM S KOMPULZIVNIM KOCKANJEM I OVISNOSCU O alkoholu
Sazetak - CiIj rada je usporedba sociodemografskih podataka u skupini ovisnika o igrama na srecu i ovisnika o alkoholu, kako bi se pokusalo odgovoriti na pitanja da li isti sociodemografski cimbenici utjecu na pojavnost obiju vrsta ovisnosü, da Ii obje ovisnosti uzrokuju slicne obiteljske i socijalne posljedice. Istrazivanje je provedeno tijekom 2007. i 2008. godine. Ispitane su dvije skupine, prva sa 60 ovisnika o igrama na srecu, te druga sa 60 ovisnika o alkoholu, obje u fazi zapocetog tretmana lijecenja. Iz rezultata ispitivanja vidljivo je da su kompulzivni kockari u pravilu znacajno mladi u odnosu na ovisnike o alkoholu, sa nizom ákolskom spremom, uglavnom neozenjeni, bez djece ili s jednim djetetom, a kao razlog kockanja subjektivno vide potrebu da se osjecaju bolje i naviku. Pokazuju znatno manju agresivnost u odnosu na ovisnike o alkoholu. Ovisnici o alkoholu, u odnosu na kockare, stariji su, s viáom skolskom spremom, znacajno cesce u braku, ali i rastavljeni, znacajno je veci udio umirovTjenika i nezaposlenih. Kao razlog pijenja subjektivno vide sredstvo kako bi se popravilo prisutno nezadovoljstvo. Agresivnost ovisnici o kocki pokazuju znatno cesce u odnosu na kompluzivne kockare.
Kljucne rijeci: ovisnost o alkoholu; kompulzivno kockanje
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Received July 23 2008, accepted after revision March 5 2009
Spomenko Die, Zoran Zoricic1, Robert Torre1
General Hospital Virovitica, Virovitica, Croatia
1 Department of Psychiatry, University Hospital Sestre Milosrdnice, Zagreb, Croatia
Correnspodence to: Zoran Zoriíié, Department of Psychiatry, University Hospital Sestre milosrdnice, Vinogradska 29, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia, e-mail: email@example.com…
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Publication information: Article title: Differences in Socio-Demographic Factors Related to Compulsive Gambling and Alcohol Addiction. Contributors: Ilic, Spomenko - Author, Zoricic, Zoran - Author, Torre, Robert - Author. Journal title: Alcoholism. Volume: 45. Issue: 2 Publication date: May 1, 2009. Page number: 107+. © Centre for Study and Control of Alcoholism and Addictions, Zagreb 2008. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.