The WAGER, Vol. 1(39) – Family history of problem gambling


A recent study* surveyed 1,030 Ontario adults by telephone about their gambling behav­iors and attitudes. The study found 11% of the respondents reported that their father, mother, or both gambled too much. Those who reported a family history of problem gambling were more likely to have a gambling problem themselves. Specifically, respondents who were classi­fied by the South Oaks Gambling Screen (SOGS) to be pathological gamblers were signifi­cantly more likely to have a family member with a gambling problem. One percent of respondents who did not have a family history of problem gambling were pathological gamblers, while 4% of respondents who did have a family history of problem gambling were pathological gamblers. The population surveyed for this study was a random selection of the adult popula­tion of Ontario living in private households with telephones. This relationship between an individual’s own gambling problem and family history of problem gambling is consistent with findings from studies of gamblers receiving treatment for their problem. For example, 28% of the parents of a sample of 186 pathological gamblers admitted to an inpatient treatment program were reported to be compulsive gamblers.**

Sources adapted from:

*Ferris, J. & Stirpe, T. (1995). Gambling in Ontario: A report from a general population survey on gambling-related problems and opinions. Toronto, Ontario: Addiction Research Foundation, Problem and Compulsive Gambling Project

**Ciarrocchi, J. & Richardson, R. (1989). Profile of compulsive gamblers in treatment:
update and comparisons. Journal of Gambling Behavior, 5, 53-65.

This public education project is funded, in part, by The Andrews Foundation.
This fax may be copied without permission. Please cite The WAGER as the source.
For more information contact the Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling,
190 High Street, Suite 6, Boston, MA 02110.

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