The educated and employed are potentially less likely to develop gambling problems than more vulnerable groups, according to a Danish study.
In a five-year survey conducted between 2005 and 2010, Ola Ekholm, Stig Eiberg, Michael Davidsen, Maria Holst and Christina V. L. Larsen, et al looked at the prevalence of gambling problems among tens of thousands of Danish citizens.
Overall, they found a very low – and slowly reducing – rate of gambling problems, affecting just 0.9% of the population in 2005, and only 0.8% in 2010.
But within this headline figure, they also found certain trends that suggest an individual’s characteristics can help to determine whether they can gamble without becoming the subject of a compulsion.
Young male respondents to the survey were more likely than average to feel compelled to continue gambling, as were pensioners with disabilities.
Single people who live alone also appear to be more likely to feel compelled to continue gambling, even if they lose more than they can afford.
However, those in employment and those with a good level of education were seen as being subject to “a protective effect” that helped them to fight off similar compulsions.
The researchers suggest that future studies might focus on the gender divide – and in particular, on why women are seemingly not so likely to feel compelled to gamble.