Association Between Problem Gambling and Functional Disability: A Nationally Representative Study Conducted in the United Kingdom

Louis Jacob, Guillermo F. López-Sánchez, Hans Oh, Karel Kostev, Ai Koyanagi, Josep Maria Haro, Shahina Pardhan, Jae Il Shin, Lee Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives:Problem gambling is associated with multiple detrimental health outcomes. However, to date, no study has investigated the association between problem gambling and functional disability. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate the association between problem gambling and functional disability in a UK nationally representative sample.Methods:Cross-sectional data from the 2007 Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey were analyzed. Problem gambling was assessed using a questionnaire including 10 DSM-IV criteria, whereas functional disability referred to at least 1 difficulty in 1 of 7 activities of daily living and instrumental activities of daily living. Control variables included sociodemographic factors, smoking status, alcohol dependence, drug use, the number of chronic physical conditions, depression, and anxiety disorder. The problem gambling-functional disability relationship was studied using a logistic regression model.Results:This study included 6941 adults aged ≥16-years (51.2% women; mean [SD] age 46.3 [18.6] years). The prevalence of functional disability was significantly higher in the at-risk problem gambling/problem gambling group than in the no problem gambling group (46.2% vs 32.1%, P value-<-0.001). After adjusting for control variables, both at-risk problem gambling (OR-=-1.55, 95% CI-=-1.03-2.35) and problem gambling (OR-=-3.05, 95% CI-=-1.09-8.52) were positively and significantly associated with functional disability.Conclusions:In this large representative sample of UK adults, problem gambling was associated with higher odds for functional disability. If confirmed with longitudinal studies, these results suggest that those suffering from problem gambling should receive targeted intervention to aid in the prevention of functional disability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-241
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Addiction Medicine
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Mar 1

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Lippincott Williams and Wilkins. All rights reserved.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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