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Gambling among elderly people: A mixed-methods study of individual and family factors SSS22

  • School: School of Social Sciences
  • Study mode(s): Full-time / Part-time
  • Starting: 2022
  • Funding: UK student / EU student (non-UK) / International student (non-EU) / Fully-funded


NTU's Fully-funded PhD Studentship Scheme 2022

Project ID: SSS22

Despite the growth in the number of studies on gambling disorders. and the potentially severe harm it may cause, problem gambling in older adults is rarely apparent in literature. Driven by the need to overcome this limitation, more research on this topic is warranted. Elderly people as a vulnerable population remains under-researched in literature. Although regular gambling habits may cause potentially very serious harm, such as financial, social, family problems, a great deal of research has focused on a younger age group and on the “archetypal” problem gambler, especially middle-aged men. However, gambling participation is increasing significantly among the elderly and it is becoming a particularly widespread and regular recreational behaviour among this population. Casinos and other gambling locations know how to meet the specific needs of older people. In addition, gambling may represent one of the few leisure pursuits that are available and highly accessible to older adults. Moreover, older adults with a gambling disorder often experience higher levels of psychological and physical comorbidity compared with younger adults, and show higher probabilities of severe adverse consequences of gambling problems associated with isolation, limited social support, boredom and limited income.

Therefore, the present project aims to propose and test a theoretical model of how individual and family variables might promote the development and maintenance of late life problem gambling. The research aims of this PhD will be to (i) explore the experiences of gambling among elderly people (aged >65 years) and their family members, as well as the gambling activities most popular among this age group; (ii) examine the role of individual and family variables that received less attention in the literature in the emergence and maintenance of gambling behaviour among this age group, and (iii) test the effectiveness of an intervention to reduce problematic gambling among elderly people. All these findings will have the potential to contribute to a better exploration of meaningful protective factors that could facilitate productive aging. Knowledge about the risky factors on gambling in this age group will inform the design of preventive strategies and research on health promotion among more aged populations.

The proposed research is novel and ambitious and will integrate a multi-method design (focus group interviews, survey, and an intervention study), using the team’s expertise in quantitative data analysis and qualitative methodology. The research is innovative because it fills a large gap in the literature concerning how gambling manifests among elderly populations.

School strategic research priority

The project is very well situated as it fits with the University’s Strategic Research Theme Health and Wellbeing, and will be carried out under the support of the International Gaming Research Unit, which is internationally recognised for their research in gambling and behavioural addictions.

Entry qualifications

For the eligibility criteria, visit our studentship application page.

How to apply

For guidance and to make an application, please visit our studentship application page. The application deadline is Friday 14 January 2022.

Fees and funding

This is part of NTU's 2022 fully-funded PhD Studentship Scheme.

Guidance and support

Download our full applicant guidance notes for more information.

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