Gambling and Longitudinal Research


Gambling is the betting or staking of something of value, including money, on an event with an element of risk and hope of gain. People have been gambling since written history and all cultures have some form of the activity. Many games have been invented and hundreds of books and works of art have been created depicting gambling activities.

Generally, people gamble for social, financial, and entertainment reasons. Some people play for the excitement and euphoria that is triggered by the brain’s reward system and other physiological changes. Others enjoy the idea of winning and dreaming about what they would do with the money. Still others gamble to alleviate stress and boredom, or to pass time. Regardless of the reason, gambling is inherently risky.

Longitudinal research is valuable for the psychiatric community, as it allows researchers to study the development and maintenance of both normal and pathological gambling behavior. However, longitudinal studies of gambling are not as common or as sophisticated as some other types of research such as impulsive behavior (e.g., kleptomania, pyromania, or trichotillomania).

When gambling, it is important to only use money that you are ready to lose. It is also a good idea to only gamble with cash or chips, not credit cards or electronic money. Finally, always tip your dealer. It’s a good idea to give them $1-$5 for every bet they place, or even just for playing. This will help them feel appreciated and they may be more likely to want to help you win.

Posted in: Gambling