Suicidal ideation and suicide attempts in five groups with different severities of gambling: Findings from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions

Jacquelene F. Moghaddam, Gihyun Yoon, Daniel L. Dickerson, Suck Won Kim, Joseph Westermeyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background and Objectives: Problem and pathological gamblers show high rates of suicidal behavior. However, previous research of suicide among this population has been inconsistent. Discrepancies may stem from methodological issues, including variable use of suicide nomenclature and selection bias in study samples. Furthermore, earlier research has rarely examined gambling severity aside from problem or pathological categories. This study utilized subgroups derived from a nationally representative data set, examining different characteristics of suicidal behavior and several gambling levels, including subclinical groups. Methods: Participants included 13,578 individuals who participated in the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC) and provided information on gambling behavior, lifetime suicidal ideation, and/or lifetime suicide attempts. Five gambling groups were derived using DSM-IV criteria for pathological gambling; non-gambling, low-risk gambling, at-risk gambling, problem gambling, and pathological gambling. Results: Problem gambling was associated with suicidal ideation [adjusted odds ratio (AOR)=1.64, 95% confidence interval (CI)=1.19-2.26] and suicide attempts [(AOR)=2.42, 95% (CI)=1.60-3.67] after adjustment for sociodemographic variables. Pathological gambling was associated with suicidal ideation [(AOR)=2.86, 95% (CI)=1.98-4.11] and suicide attempts [(AOR)=2.77, 95% (CI)=1.72-4.47) after adjustment for sociodemographic variables. Discussion, Conclusions, and Scientific Significance Our results from this population sample reinforce increased rates of suicidal behavior amongst smaller, clinical samples of problem and pathological gamblers. Education for providers about gambling is recommended, including screening for gambling-related symptoms such as suicidal behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)292-298
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal on Addictions
Volume24
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015

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