Disordered Gambling Among University-Based Medical and Dental Patients: A Focus on Internet Gambling


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Abstract

The authors evaluated gambling behaviors, including Internet gambling, among patients seeking free or reduced-cost dental or health care. Three hundred eighty-nine patients at university health clinics completed a questionnaire that included the South Oaks Gambling Screen (SOGS; H. R. Lesieur & S. Blume, 1987). All respondents had gambled in their lifetimes, with 70% gambling in the past 2 months. On the basis of SOGS scores, 10.6% were problem gamblers, and 15.4% were pathological gamblers. The most common forms of gambling were lottery, slot machines, and scratch tickets. Internet gambling was reported by 8.1% of participants. Compared to non-Internet gamblers, Internet gamblers were more likely to be younger, non-Caucasian, and have higher SOGS scores. This study is among the first to evaluate the prevalence of Internet gambling and suggests that people who gamble on the Internet are likely to have a gambling problem. Results also illuminate the need to screen patients seeking health care services for gambling problems.

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