Survey Claims Parent Problem Gambling Affects Children in Australia

Australia is a place where people do enjoy a flutter. However, a new landmark study by the Australian National University suggests that there are issues that run deeper in families and impact as many as 200,000 Australian children younger than 15.

A Look at Passing Down Problem Gambling to Children

Researchers have found out that 60,000 of these children are exposed to the severest form of problem gambling as part of their family environment, with the remainder of the children living in environments with parents who gamble frequently. The survey also took data from the 2018 Household, Income and Labor Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey, factoring in households with children under the age of 15.

The study established that 4% of children in Australia have parents who qualify as gamblers at moderate risk, referring to how likely they are to develop an addiction. The study is important as it once again reinforces strong evidence that children exposed to gambling environments at home are more vulnerable to the activity themselves.

According to Aino Suomi, who is the lead author of the survey, the extent of the gambling harm that problem gambler parents inflict on children is now beginning to be established more accurately.

This in turn can advise government policies on how they should help problem gamblers who have children and aid avoid a vicious circle whereby children grow up to be like their parents. It’s a public health matter, Suomi assured.

The study went in to provide more details about what the public should know about the rate at which children in Australia are impacted. For example, 1.1% of children under the age of 15 are exposed to serious problem gambling, whereas 2.8% are impacted by parental moderate-risk gambling, the survey explained in detail.

The survey concluded that as many as 500,000 children may be exposed to some form of low-risk gambling through a parent, although it also said that nine out of 10 adults do not engage in risky gambling at all.

Problem Gambling May Stay in the Family

The survey is also important because it reaffirms Suomi’s exploration of the issue. Previous work done by Suomi indicates that children of parents who are at moderate risk of gambling disorders suffer the same issues and harms as their elders.

There are different ways for these harms to manifest themselves, including financial stress, difficulty establishing relationships, and psychological issues. Family violence is also connected to gambling, Suomi argues, and the transmission of gambling problems from parent to children does occur.

Suomi’s research into the matter has been extensive She published a paper in Addictive Behaviors, trying to identify the gambling habits of Australian parents with children. Most would prefer online gambling, but a fair bit would go visit gambling venues while leaving children at home. Even though gambling numbers in Australia have been falling, the number of problem gamblers has doubled in the pats ten or so years, based on data by Gambling Research Australia. The risk for children remains ever greater in the country.

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