If the findings of a recent survey pertaining to gambling behavior in Indiana are accurate, then people in the state who struggle with compulsive gambling are well aware of that issue. At the same time, many of them might be ignorant of available resources to address that issue.
The survey shows that the percentage of respondents who seemed to fit the description of a person with a gambling problem is small. Regardless, a small percentage of the state’s total population still represents tens of thousands of individuals.
New survey seeks to assess gambling behavior in Indiana
Prevention Insights at Indiana University published its 2022 Adult Gambling Behaviors study. The researchers pulled data from 854 responses to a survey and processed that data to ensure that it represented an accurate sample of the state’s overall population over the age of 18.
Among the survey questions were inquiries that researchers included to measure a number of behaviors. Those included what forms of gambling, like online sports betting, are most popular in the state and who favors them. For the researchers’ purposes, though, the most poignant questions related to pathological gambling.
To try to measure that, the survey included questions that are part of multiple compulsive gambling assessments. Based on the responses to those questions, there is both bad and good news for Indiana when it comes to gambling-related behavior pathology.
The optimistic view of the survey results
Based on the data, the study authors say that the prevalence of gambling disorders may have decreased in Indiana over the past year. The 2021 Adult Gambling Behaviors study found that 4.1% of Indiana’s adult population had gambling disorders based on the standard of the American Psychiatric Association.
The 2022 study reported just 2.3% fit that description. Similarly, the estimates for Indianans with pathological gambling issues and severe gambling compulsions dropped as well. Furthermore, it seems that among those individuals, the level of self-awareness is high.
The study authors posit that among “respondents who were grouped into the gambling disorder category from DSM-V (60.9%), the pathological gambling category from NODS (87.8%), and the problematic gambling category from PGSI (85.3%) reported that they had thought of having gambling problems.”
While awareness of an issue like gambling-related pathology is a positive attribute, it’s a mere beginning to addressing that problem. The less encouraging findings of the survey suggest that’s where the road to recovery might end for some Indianans.
The bad news from the 2022 study
The data from the study suggest that the level of awareness of resources to treat compulsive gambling might have actually dropped during 2022. The 2021 study showed that over 44% of respondents were aware of the state’s problem gambling helpline.
That same statistic dropped to under 39% in the 2022 survey responses. The study did not measure awareness of other problem gambling resources. At the same time, the ignorance that the data do suggest is a legitimate issue.
While 2.3% of the population represents a small partition, it’s important to understand what that percentage represents. In a state with an estimated population of 6.8 million, 2.3% equates to over 150,000 people.
The data suggest that the state has work to do to reverse the trend of ignorance and raise awareness of problem gambling resources. Raising awareness could help drive the rate of gambling disorder in Indiana even lower for the 2023 study.