How is problematic online gambling related to experiences of self-harm and suicidal ideation?


Dr Jo Lloyd

Dr Jo Lloyd, Lecturer in Psychology at Staffordshire University and a member of the Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research, blogs about her recently published study investigating online gamblers’ experiences of self-harm and suicidal thoughts:

This week, a piece of research I carried out with colleagues at Oxford University’s Department of Psychiatry has been published in the academic journal, International Gambling Studies. The study, ‘Thoughts and acts of self-harm, and suicidal ideation, in online gamblers’ set out to explore how factors such as demographics, gambling motivations, and mood disorders relate to the likelihood of having contemplated, or engaged in, self-harm.

There has been considerable research into the links between problem gambling and both depression and suicide, but how problematic gambling links to self-harm is less well understood. Because we were able to recruit a large sample of over 4,000 gamblers to this study, we wgambling_blogere able to explore the links in detail. While many of the risk factors identified echoed those for non-gambling-specific self-harm in the general population, there were also some interesting novel findings, which could have important implications for assessment and treatment. I found it particularly intriguing that those who gamble as a means of mood modification were more likely to have self-harmed, and not only because of their gambling problems. Gambling and self-harm can both be maladaptive ways of coping, and in an earlier 2010 study we found that gambling for mood modification was significantly associated with gambling problems and other mood disorders. Further research to explore these factors in ‘offline’ gamblers, and those seeking treatment, has the potential to help improve our understanding of how best to help people who experience difficulties related to gambling and self-harm.

You can read Dr Lloyd’s new publication via the below link:

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