Age-related physical and psychological vulnerability as pathways to problem gambling in older adults

Adrian Parke, Mark Griffiths, Julie Pattinson, David Keatley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)
24 Downloads (Pure)


To inform clinical treatment and preventative efforts, there is an important need to understand the pathways to late-life gambling disorder.

This study assesses the association between age-related physical health, social networks, and problem gambling in adults aged over 65 years and assesses the mediating role of affective disorders in this association.

The sample comprised 595 older adults (mean age: 74.4 years, range: 65–94 years; 77.1% female) who were interviewed using a structured questionnaire to assess physical frailty, geriatric pain, loneliness, geriatric depression, geriatric anxiety, and problem gambling.

Pathway analysis demonstrated associations between these variables and gambling problems, providing a good fit for the data, but that critically these relationships were mediated by both anxiety and depression symptoms.

This study indicates that late-life problem gambling may develop as vulnerable individuals gamble to escape anxiety and depression consequent to deteriorating physical well-being and social support. When individuals develop late-life problem gambling, it is recommended that the treatment primarily focuses upon targeting and replacing avoidant coping approaches.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-145
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Behavioral Addictions
Issue number1
Early online date28 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • gambling
  • older adults
  • women
  • anxiety
  • depression


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