Trends in gambling participation and gambling severity among Finnish men and women: cross-sectional population surveys in 2007, 2010 and 2015
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CitationCastrén, Sari. Heiskanen, Maria. Salonen, Anne H. (2018). Trends in gambling participation and gambling severity among Finnish men and women: cross-sectional population surveys in 2007, 2010 and 2015. BMJ Open, 8 (8) , e022129. 10.1136/bmjopen-2018-022129.
Objective The aim of this study is to evaluate trends in past-year gambling participation and gambling severity among Finnish men and women from 2007 to 2015.
Design Cross-sectional population surveys from years 2007, 2011 and 2015.
Setting Data were drawn from the population register and collected using computer-assisted telephone interviews.
Participants Representative random samples of Finns aged 15–74 were drawn in the study in 2007 (n=5008), 2011 (n=4484) and 2015 (n=4515) with response rates of 58%, 40% and 62%, respectively.
Outcome measures The outcome measures were gambling versatility, type of games, gambling intensity and gambling severity. Significance (p) between time points was determined using χ2 tests. All temporal comparisons between 2007–2011, 2011–2015 and 2007–2015 were performed separately for all respondents aged 15–74 and for women and men.
Results Gambling participation overall showed a rising trend (6.6 percentage points, 95% CI 4.9 to 8.3) from 2007 to 2015. In 2007–2011 women’s gambling participation increased more (7.8 percentage points, 95% CI 5.5 to 10.4) than men’s (5.4 percentage points, 95% CI 3.2 to 7.6). The most popular game types since 2007 have been lottery games, scratch cards and electronic gaming machines (EGMs). EGM gambling, on the other hand, has decreased since 2007. Online gambling has increased significantly from 2007 to 2015 in both genders. Men’s at-risk gambling decreased from 2007 to 2011, while women’s at-risk gambling and problem gambling increased from 2011 to 2015.
Conclusions Women’s increasing gambling participation is causing gender differences in gambling behaviour to narrow. The article concludes with a discussion of the need for gender-specific interventions aimed at preventing gambling-related harm and ultimately at protecting the most vulnerable groups.