General Risk Factors for Gambling Problems and the Prevalence of Pathological Gambling in Norway
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Pathological Gambling (PG) has not until recently been scientifically studied. In a series of epidemiological studies prevalences of Pathological gambling were assessed for both men and women, adults and adolescents, and also for games without monetary rewards, and for internet. In Norway the condition affects below one percent of the adult population (higher in men than in women), close to 2% percent among adolescents, and close to 3% for games without monetary reward. For “internet addiction” (as defined in paper III) the prevalence is about 2%. In addition comes playing via the internet, which occurs in quite high figures, and with indications that this problem is rapidly increasing throughout the world. There are several attempts to build a theory that can explain both the etiology of gambling, its development and alleviation. There are few controlled studies of the effect of treatment of pathological gambling. In an attempt to increase the understanding of pathological gambling, a critical literature review was performed of the risk factors for developing pathological gambling. The results showed that there are a few empirically documented risk factors established. We could show that quite few of our thirty-five studied risk factors have been empirically documented to enable valid conclusions: Gender, cognitive distortions, availability, sensory characteristics, schedules of reinforcement and psychiatric comorbidity, personality deviations.
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