Gambling Research – Longitudinal Studies of Gambling Disorders



Gambling is the wagering of money or something of value on an event with an uncertain outcome. The primary intent of gambling is winning additional money or material goods. A person can bet on a variety of events, including sports games, horse races, board games, card games, and more. Gambling can take place in brick-and-mortar casinos, online casinos, and at other locations where gambling is legal.

A recent trend in gambling research is longitudinal studies that track individuals over a long period of time. These studies can help researchers identify risk factors for gambling problems and determine how they change over time. However, longitudinal studies are difficult to conduct due to several factors. Some of these include: the need for massive funding to support a multiyear study; challenges in maintaining research team continuity over a long period of time; the tendency of longitudinal data to confound aging and period effects (e.g., is a person’s sudden interest in gambling related to his or her age or a new casino in the neighborhood?)

A key aspect of addressing gambling disorder is getting help. The first step is realizing that there is a problem, which can be difficult for someone who has lost a lot of money and strained or broken relationships as a result of gambling behavior. Other important steps include setting financial boundaries, seeking the support of a group like Gamblers Anonymous, and finding other activities to occupy one’s time.