Gambling and Longitudinal Research


Gambling involves risking something of value (money, goods, services) in a game of chance. If the gambler is correct, they win money; if they are wrong, they lose the amount of money they put at stake. People can gamble on a variety of activities, including scratch-offs, video poker, casino games, sports betting and horse racing. It is important to remember that gambling is not a safe activity, and those with mental health issues are particularly at risk of harmful gambling. There is also a link between gambling and suicide, so it is very important to seek help for any feelings of depression or anxiety that may be making you feel the urge to gamble.

Gamblers often hide their gambling from others, lie about how much time and money they spend on the activity, and attempt to cover up the damage they have done. This type of behaviour can have serious consequences, especially when it leads to debt and family breakdown.

Longitudinal research is important in determining which factors moderate and exacerbate the development of pathological gambling behavior, and is key to developing effective treatment interventions. However, the logistical and practical challenges of conducting longitudinal studies in gambling research are considerable. These include the need for large financial resources for a multiyear commitment; the difficulty of maintaining research team continuity and sample attrition over this period; the possibility that repeated testing will influence gambling behaviors and/or behavioral reports; and the knowledge that longitudinal data confound aging and period effects.