Across Australia and New Zealand, politicians and advocacy groups are looking for ways to reduce harm done by gambling activities. Many groups have deemed betting limits ineffective, opting for counseling and education instead. While there was previously little research to support these ideas, a new study sheds some light on the issue.
A study that has been recently published in the Psychological Science medical journal shows that moody, impulsive children are more likely to develop gambling problems later on in life. The researchers studied 1000 children over 30 years ago and interviewed them upon turning 21 and 32.
First, the children (aged 3-years-old at the time) were grouped into categories, ranging from well-adjusted to under-controlled. At 21 years of age, 13% of those who had behavioural issues developed gambling problems. At 32 years of age, 4% were still struggling with gambling addiction – to the point that their finances had become threatened.
No other studies like this have been conducted, examining problem gambling for such a long period of time. Researchers have never before taken into consideration the effect that childhood behaviour may have on gambling addiction development, and hopefully these findings will inspire other researchers to take up similar topics.