Problem Gambling Among Urban and Rural Gamblers in Limpopo Province, South Africa: Associations with Hazardous and Harmful Alcohol Use and Psychological Distress.
Stein, Dan J
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Little is known about the mental health correlates of problem gambling in low- and-middle-income countries such as South Africa and whether these correlates vary by urbanicity. To address this gap, we examined mental health factors associated with problem gambling among gamblers in Limpopo Province, South Africa disaggregated by rural, peri-urban and urban location. A survey of gambling behaviour and mental health was conducted among 900 gamblers. Overall, 28.3 % were at high risk and 38.1 % were at moderate risk for problem gambling. For the entire sample, hazardous/harmful alcohol use was associated with almost twofold increased chance of being at moderate risk (AOR 1.83; 95 % CI 1.08, 3.11) and almost sevenfold greater odds (AOR 6.93; 95 % CI 4.03-11.93) of being at high risk for problem gambling. Psychological distress was associated with being at high risk for problem gambling only (AOR 1.18; 95 % CI 1.14-1.22). After stratifying by urbanicity, hazardous/harmful alcohol use and psychological distress remained associated with high risk gambling across all locations. We found little knowledge of a free gambling helpline and other gambling services-particularly in less urbanised environments [χ(2) (2), 900 = 40.4; p < 0.001]. These findings highlight the need to increase awareness of free helpline services among gamblers and to ensure gambling services include screening and treatment for common mental disorders.