WE LIVE IN A WORLD TODAY WHERE GAMBLING
IS INCREASINGLY AVAILABLE, ACCEPTABLE AND ROMANTICIZED AND ROMANTICIZED.RECENT STUDIES HAVE SHOWN
THAT UP TO 75% OF AMERICANS HAVE GAMBLED IN THE LAST YEAR. FOR MOST, GAMBLING IS A RECREATIONAL
ACTIVITY, BUT FOR BETWEEN 3 AND 6 PERCENT OF AMERICANS, EXCESSIVE GAMBLING CAUSES SIGNIFICANT
PROBLEMS IN THEIR LIVES, AND FOR 1 TO 2 PERCENT, THESE PROBLEMS ARE DEBILITATING. BUT RESEARCHERS
AT THE INSTITUTE FOR GAMBLING EDUCATION AND RESEARCH, OR “TIGER” AT THE UNIVERSITY OF
MEMPHIS, IN THE COLLEGE OF ARTS AND SCIENCES, ARE WORKING TO COMBAT THIS PROBLEM. “TIGER”
CONSISTS OF THE GAMBLING LAB, WHERE THEY RESEARCH GAMBLING BEHAVIORS, AND THE GAMBLING CLINIC,
WHERE THEY DO RESEARCH ON THE ASSESSMENT AND TREATMENT OF GAMBLING PROBLEMS.
THE GAMBLING LAB HAS THE FEEL OF A CASINO, BUT RESEARCHERS ARE ABLE TO CLOSELY MONITOR
SUBJECTS, AND THEIR REACTIONS TO STIMULI IN THE SMALL ENVIRONMENT. “And the idea behind
that…” DAMON LIPINSKI RECEIVED HIS PHD IN CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGY IN MAY. HIS RESEARCH HAS
LOOKED AT THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION AND GAMBLING. It doesn\’92t actually
change the way you bet, you might think that sort of bet in a more erratic way or something
like that. But what you do is you tend to longer. And of course playing longer in a
casino tends to translate to losing more money. IN ADDITION, HE FOUND THAT GAMBLING, COMPARED
TO OTHER ACTIVITIES LIKE WATCHING A MOVIE, TENDED TO INCREASE A PERSON’S DESIRE TO DRINK,
AND THAT WHEN THE SUBJECTS WERE LOSING, THEY WANTED TO HAVE MORE DRINKS. We think that,
that might be a function of trying to kind of erase the mood state, the negative mood
state that results in losing. You lose, you feel bad \’96 you have a drink and you don’t
feel quite as bad after that. “You really should not do it at all…” DON YORGASON
IS WORKING TOWARDS HIS PHD IN CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGY. My research is on gambling and religion and
sort of how the two come together. What I did is I wanted to find out for people who
have a gambling problem, would they be likely to turn to their church for help. And so,
I surveyed people from 6 different churches in town, Catholics and Southern Baptists.
HE CHOSE THOSE DENOMINATIONS BECAUSE OF THEIR DIFFERING ATTITUDES ON THE MORALITY OF GAMBLING.
So I wanted to see that difference of how they treat gambling would have an impact on
how likely a person would be to seek help from their church, if they had a gambling
problem. DON SURVEYED MEMBERS OF SEVERAL CHURCHES IN MEMPHIS AND ASKED THEM TO IMAGINE THEMSELVES
AS PROBLEM GAMBLERS AND THEN…answer a set of questions about the type of support they
would expect or who they would be likely to talk to if they wanted help. HE EXPECTED
TO FIND THAT MEMBERS OF THE SOUTHERN BAPTIST CHURCH, WHICH TEACHES THAT GAMBLING IS A SIN,
WOULD FEEL LESS SUPPORT FROM THEIR CHURCH. But that is actually not what I found. What
I found is that people in both churches, no matter what the problem was, expected a lot
of support from their church. THIS IS AN IMPORTANT FINDING BECAUSE IT CAN DIRECT
TREATMENT EFFORTS FOR PROBLEM GAMBLERS.\cf0 So we know that people with gambling problems
are religious and they feel like maybe they can’t talk to their church even though
the church could provide a lot of the things that they need, either monetary help or
emotional support. It is something we can tell them, maybe your church really could
help you. “We expected some raise…” ANDREA WATSON IS ALSO WORKING TOWARDS HER PHD IN
CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGY. My research really looks at adolescent gambling and its relationship
with criminal or delinquent behavior. Well, basically what we did was we identified a
population of adolescents who are considered at risk in engaging in a number of problem
behaviors. And we went and administered paper and pencil questionaries to really asses their
gambling behavior and in an exploratory fashion understand what kind of crimes that they have
been committing. FROM THIS SHE WAS ABLE TO REVEAL THE GAMBLING RATE AMONG ADOLESCENTS
WHO ARE AT-RISK FOR SIGNIFICANT PROBLEMS AS THEY APPROACH ADULTHOOD. What we found was
that about 77% of the adolescents said that they had engaged in some form of gambling
at some point in their life. We had about 61% who reported gambling in the past year.
Now of those who reported gambling, we found that about 19% had identified themselves as
having problems associated with their gambling. AND WHAT TYPES OF CRIMES THEY ARE COMMITTING.
Theft, vandalism, selling drugs, physical violence, and other delinquent acts that may
range from truancy, running away from home overnight. AND IN SOME CASES, WHY THEY ARE
COMMITTING THE CRIMES. When we specifically asked a lot of the adolescents were their
crimes committed for gambling related purposes which accounted for about 30% of the sample
endorsed committing crimes in order to finance their gambling or pay off gambling debts.
ANDREA SAYS THE STUDY HAS MANY IMPLICATIONS. It definitely has implications in future prevention,
development and intervention that might try and address adolescent gambling problems.
THESE STUDIES, AS WELL AS MANY OTHERS, HELP RESEARCHERS UNDERSTAND AND TO POSSIBLY PREVENT
FUTURE GAMBLING PROBLEMS, AS WELL AS HELP THOSE WHO CURRENTLY ARE PROBLEM GAMBLERS.
SO IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A GAMBLING PROBLEM, OR KNOW SOMEONE WHO DOES, CALL 901.678.3491
FOR MORE INFORMATION. FOR THE UNIVERSITY OF MEMPHIS, I’M SIMON WRIGHT, SENIOR, PHILOSOPHY