Age could hold key to motives behind gambling addictions

The reasons why people develop a gambling addiction tends to differ depending on their age, according to a new study.

Research performed by the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute has concluded that younger gamblers tend to be hooked on the impulsiveness and competitiveness of gambling, whilst older people engage in gambling in an attempt to cure unhappiness in their lives.

According to, the researchers came to the conclusion by analysing more than 2,300 individuals patients aged between 17 - 86 years old. Their findings could be of interest to those on counselling courses, who often need to learn about the potential causes of addictions, phobias and other mental health problems.

In an interview with, the study's lead author Susana Jiminez-Murcia explained the significant differences between 17 to 35-year-olds and those aged over 55.

She said: "Older people do not gamble to seek awards or for the challenge of winning or for competitiveness as young people do, but they gamble to modulate negative emotional states. Older patients try to flee from loneliness, dissatisfaction or even physical discomfort.

"The only personality factor that does not vary with age is self-direction, the ability to take control of our lives, to be persistent with a goal."