Suicidality among individuals with gambling problems: a meta-analytic literature review

Kristensen, J.H., Pallesen, S., Bauer, J., Leino, T., Griffiths, M. ORCID: 0000-0001-8880-6524 and Erevik, E.K., 2023. Suicidality among individuals with gambling problems: a meta-analytic literature review. Psychological Bulletin. ISSN 0033-2909 (Forthcoming)

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Gambling problems have consistently been linked to suicidality, including suicidal ideation, attempts, and suicide. However, the magnitude of the relationship has varied significantly across studies and the potential causal link between gambling problems and suicidality is currently unclear. A meta-analytic literature review was conducted (a) to synthesize pooled prevalence rates of suicidality among individuals with gambling problems; (b) to determine if individuals with gambling problems had an increased likelihood of reporting suicidality compared to individuals without gambling problems; and (c) to review evidence on causality and directionality. A search in Web of Science, PsycINFO, PsycNet, Medline, CINAHL, ProQuest, Embase, and Google Scholar electronic databases identified 107 unique studies (N = 4,691,899) that were included for review. Studies were included if they were available in any European language and provided sufficient data for the calculation of prevalence rates or effect sizes. Two researchers extracted the data independently using a pre-defined coding schema that included the Newcastle-Ottawa Quality Assessment Scale. Random-effects meta-analyses yielded pooled prevalence rates of 31.6%, 95% CI [29.1%, 34.3%] for lifetime suicidal ideation and 13.2%, 95% CI [11.3%, 15.5%] for lifetime suicide attempts. Individuals with gambling problems had significantly increased odds of reporting lifetime suicidal ideation (OR = 2.17, 95% CI [1.90, 2.48], and lifetime suicide attempts (OR = 2.81, 95% CI [2.23, 3.54]) compared to individuals without gambling problems. Two studies reported that individuals with pathological gambling had an increased risk of dying by suicide. Meta-regression analyses suggested that the risk of study bias was positively related to the prevalence rates of suicidal ideation. Sex proportions were found to moderate the odds of suicidal ideation, but the direction of the effect was inconsistent. For suicide attempts, psychiatric comorbidity and sample size were positively and inversely, respectively, associated with prevalence rates. The synthesis indicates that suicidality is common among individuals with gambling problems and hence should be addressed by help agencies. Inferences on causality and directionality are hampered by a lack of longitudinal studies.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Psychological Bulletin
Creators: Kristensen, J.H., Pallesen, S., Bauer, J., Leino, T., Griffiths, M. and Erevik, E.K.
Publisher: American Psychological Association
Date: 12 September 2023
ISSN: 0033-2909
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: Jonathan Gallacher
Date Added: 07 Nov 2023 11:07
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2023 11:07

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