The “risk of gambling addiction is more prevalent among men than it is among women,” says a study published July 28 by researchers at New York University and the University of Michigan. In other words, men are likely to gamble at a higher rate, but the research shows men don’t always know how much of an advantage it might provide them.
For men under 25, the study finds there is less variation between the amount and quality of risk that may increase as their earnings grow. However, the risk of gambling addiction is more prevalent among men than it is among women.
“Men are more likely than women to gamble as a result of the loss of earnings – because they expect the loss,” says Michael Mearns, M.S., research assistant professor and co-director of the Center for the Study of Gambling at the NYU Langone Medical Center and associate professor at New York University. “The only way to increase your chances of being able to gamble is not to gamble.”
In addition to the risk of gambling addiction, high unemployment, poor or zero-sum relationships and unemployment make it particularly difficult to avoid. The study looked at 1,097 male New Yorkers over 18 while accounting for differences in income, number of children, number of children under 22 and family composition.
“The results of our study strongly suggest that the relationship between unemployment and gambling is negative,” said co-author Andrew Reimer, Ph.D., a NYU psychology professor who works in Mearns’ lab. “The more you live paycheck to paycheck, the more likely you are to lose out on the benefits of the job.”
Reimer pointed out that an unemployed man or woman is less likely to participate in games – as a result, the games are usually more risk-averse.
To test the relationship between gambling and unemployment among men, the researchers conducted surveys of 1,096 men between the ages 18-44 who each responded to six different questions. They were also tested for gambling behavior, including use and frequency of gambling and interest in gambling in general. In order to explore differences among respondents and to understand more about the relationship between gambling and unemployment, the researchers also conducted online survey studies among 7,500 women between the ages 35-59 who also agreed to question the same questions.