Life Style

The Dynamic Associations Between Gambling Behaviour, Health And Lifestyle

People That Move Into Risky Or Problem Gambling Are More
Likely To Move Away From Organised Groups, According To A
New Gambling Study Funded By The Ministry Of

This may manifest as withdrawal from sports,
cultural or religious groups, leading to social isolation
and reduced community contribution.

Professor Maria Bellringer, Director of the Gambling and
Addictions Research Centre at Auckland University of
Technology (AUT), says: “The results suggest that gambling
harms may be felt more severely by community-focused
populations like Māori and Pacific peoples, who are already
disproportionately at risk of developing problematic
gambling behaviours”.

The study aimed to understand
the associations between changes in gambling
behaviour (such as not gambling, recreational gambling, and
risky or problematic gambling), and changes in a
variety of health, behavioural and sociologic factors, over

In contrast to most previous studies, which
focused on a single point in time, researchers were able to
map the ebb-and-flow of these associations over a four-year
period (2012-2015). They analysed relevant National Gambling
Study data, collected from the same group of 2,770 adults,
and used Markov modelling to try and understand the
transitional events in a person’s life.

The findings
show that transitioning from recreational gambling to
risky or problematic gambling
is most likely to be
associated with negative health and lifestyle factors over
time, including continuously smoking, maintained poor
quality of life, and repeatedly experiencing one or more
major stressful life events within the previous year. It is
also likely to be associated with increased deprivation and
reduced community interaction.

These negative health
and lifestyle factors may be alleviated by transitioning
out of risky or problematic gambling
. People who moved
out of risky gambling were less likely to drink alcohol
excessively, and more likely to have a better quality of

Similarly, people who stopped gambling
altogether were less likely to drink excessively or develop
a chronic illness.

On the other hand, non-gamblers
that started gambling recreationally were more likely
to reduce their alcohol and tobacco

“This could be due to replacement of
one behaviour with another”, says

“Although the association is complex,
the knowledge that changes in gambling behaviour negatively
affect changes in health and quality of life, can be used to
inform public health responses to improve the lives of New
Zealanders,” she says.

The study, ‘New Zealand
National Gambling Study: Correspondence between changes in
gambling and gambling risk levels and health’, was
conducted by the Gambling and Addictions Research Centre and
the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology at AUT. A
full version of the report is available on the Ministry of

© Scoop Media


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