Identification of gambling problems in primary care
- Principal Investigator: Sean Cowlishaw
- 1 October 2015 to 30 September 2016
- Project No: 244
- Funding round: FR 9
Studies suggest growing numbers of people are gambling in the UK, and also experiencing problems with gambling (e.g., debt, relationship breakdown). These problems tend to cluster with other lifestyle risk behaviours (e.g., alcohol misuse, smoking), and relate to harmful impacts on both individuals (e.g., suicidality) and families (e.g., domestic violence). Gambling problems are also over-represented in primary care, and it is arguable that GPs have a role to play in helping people change their gambling and reduce the hazards associated with this behaviour. However, in contrast with other risk behaviours, such as excessive drinking, there is limited awareness of gambling in primary care, and the harms associated with it are often unrecognised.
This project will increase awareness of gambling problems in general practice, and examine the need and scope for initiatives to identify and address these issues within primary care. It involves an exploratory quantitative study of gambling problems in general practices. Eight practices will be recruited from Bristol, which provide services to a range of populations; including those which are deprived and highly vulnerable to a range of lifestyle risk behaviours including gambling. Consecutive patients will be approached in waiting rooms and screened for problems. They will also provide data on socio-demographic and clinical variables, with analyses identifying vulnerable sub-groups and impacts on patients.
Findings from this project will indicate the expected rates and impacts of gambling problems among patients in primary care. This will highlight the need and scope for improved recognition of gambling in general practice. Results will identify practices and patients that are most vulnerable to problems and receptive to support. This will inform the development of strategies to address gambling issues in primary care contexts.
Amount awarded: £49,578