Gambling addiction may increase the risk of long-term sick leave
Listen to this article
Gambling addiction can increase the risk of long-term sick leave for several years, according to a new study by Swedish researchers published in Psychological Medicine. The team behind the study point to the need to detect people with gambling addiction in time to avoid financial and health problems.
Gambling addiction is a psychiatric condition characterized by prolonged and problematic gambling that leads to negative financial, health and social consequences. The condition has been described as a "hidden addiction" that can go on without the knowledge of the environment.
The research team, with expertise in addiction, gambling, epidemiology, and sickness absence, used several linked national registers to study 2,830 working-age individuals between 19 and 62 who had been diagnosed with gambling addiction and examined their absence from work because of illness over a period of six years. They then compared these data to an equivalent group of 2,830 people without a gambling addiction diagnosis.
What the researchers say: "Thanks to the extensive data in the different registers, we were also able to control for a range of factors that are linked to both gambling addiction and sickness absence, including physical and mental health, gender, age, length of education, and how densely populated area the individual lives in," says the study's lead author.
The researchers found that people with gambling addiction had an 89% higher risk of being on long-term sick leave, which means more than 90 days per year during the year they were diagnosed.
"This is particularly worrying as this group often has a history of mental health problems and the ability to work is important for mental and financial recovery," explained the researchers.
The study also shows that the risk is unevenly distributed. Being female, having less education and living in less densely populated areas were linked to a higher risk of long-term sick leave.
According to the researchers, the results are important because there is a lack of knowledge about the consequences of gambling addiction over time and how they can affect the individual in terms of health and workability, and ultimately financial stability and participation in society through work.
“The study shows that we need to detect gambling problems at an earlier stage in health care and at workplaces, and increase access to help for affected people so that they can break negative trajectories earlier. Gambling addiction risks going unnoticed, and the problems can become extensive before they are diagnosed in health care, something that this study shows," they told us.
So, what? As I have said before all addiction is social in origin—the stress caused by the disconnect between our design specs and the way we currently live and work. What we become addicted to as a way of trying to cope with the stressors upon us will depend on our experience, or inherited genetic expression and the social context we live in.
We cannot “cure” large-scale addiction without a fundamental change in our society.
Join the discussion
More from this issue of TR
Apology psychology: Breaking gender stereotypes leads to more effective communication
Not all apologies are the same, and it can help to be more deliberate about the language that you're using and the content in your apology. Read what the researchers have to say.
People struggling with work addiction feel unwell even when they are working
This article looks at how work addiction can lead to significant negative repercussions, not only on relationships with family and friends, but also on physical and psychological well-being.
You might be interested inBack to Today's Research
Rationality and reasonableness viewed as distinct principles of judgment
When it comes to making sound judgments, most people think that being rational is self-serving and being reasonable is fair and balanced, according to some interesting new research.
The link between belief in conspiracy theories and political violence
A clear conclusion can be drawn that a belief in conspiracy theories may be associated with an attitude that assumes violent extremism to be an acceptable option.
Workplace resilience programs might not make any difference
Workplace resilience programs, designed to bolster mental health and wellbeing, and encourage employees to seek help when issues arise, might not make any difference, suggests research published in Occupational & Environmental Medicine.
Join our tribe
Subscribe to Dr. Bob Murray’s Today’s Research, a free weekly roundup of the latest research in a wide range of scientific disciplines. Explore leadership, strategy, culture, business and social trends, and executive health.