Study suggests link between trauma and addiction

    Men who have endured physical abuse or violence at home as a child are more likely to become problem gamblers, according to a recent UK survey, Reuters Health reports.

    The survey, which looked at a nationally representative group of 3,025 UK men aged 18 to 64, found that around 5 percent had gambling problems, and 7 percent were serious addicts.

    The survey found that men with a pathological addiction to gambling was more than twice as likely to have witnessed, or endured violence at home growing up, while gambling addicts were also more than three times as likely to have suffered serious trauma as kids.

    “Gambling has been suggested as a potential coping mechanism, often among females,” said senior study author Dr. Jason Landon of Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand, quoted by Reuters.

    “Often the view is that males gamble for enjoyment, or to win, and females gamble to escape.”

    “Our study is important as it… shows that harmful gambling is associated with early and adult trauma – even when alcohol and drug use are controlled for – amongst a representative sample of males,” said Landon.

    Around 10 percent of compulsive and problem gamblers experienced physical abuse or assaults as children, while 23 percent of problem gamblers witnessed violence as kids.

    The study however, wasn’t designed to prove whether childhood trauma may influence the odds of gambling addiction later in life.

    Julia Poole,  a researcher at the University of Calgary in Canada, noted that the study instead adds to evidence that links stressful life experience to the development of addictions.