PROF. AMANDA ROBERTS
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Dr. Amanda Roberts is a Professor in the School of Psychology at the University of Lincoln, UK. She completed her first degree at University College London (BSc Hons Psychology), before moving to Cardiff University to conduct her PhD in Behavioural Neuroscience. Amanda took up her first permanent full-time post at Kings College London, before moving to Queen Mary University, University of East London and then to Lincoln.
Amanda’s research interests include risk factors for antisocial and maladaptive behaviour, addiction, violence, and problem and pathological gambling. Other research includes the evaluation of gambling addiction treatment programmes both in the community (e.g. the Gordon Moody Association and the National Problem Gambling Clinic) and in UK prisons. Additional interests extend across topics that relate to gambling comorbidity, gambling in vulnerable populations, gambling and interpersonal violence, NPS use and homelessness.
Abstract: Disordered Gambling: Harms, Trends, Patterns and Treatment.
Whilst gambling does not result in problematic behaviour in the majority of individuals, a significant and appreciable number go on to experience serious social, financial, legal and emotional harms. For almost half a million of individuals in the UK, gambling is no longer a recreational pleasure but has escalated to become a full gambling problem. The disorder often results in serious negative consequences including illegal activities and crime, domestic violence, self-harm/ suicide and tends to cluster with other high-risk behaviours such as alcohol and substance misuse.
These problems and interpersonal harms can have large effects on families, and studies have documented associations with problematic or disordered gambling and relationship difficulties including marital dissatisfaction, reduced family stability, the worsening of intimate relationships and also family dysfunction. Some of these dysfunctional relationships evolve into violence, and there is growing evidence to show that problem gambling is a specific risk factor for family and intimate partner violence. The first part of the presentation will document analysis that was carried out to investigate the relationship between gambling problems and violence in nationally and internationally representative samples. The findings highlight the need for problem gambling treatment services to undertake routine screening for alcohol, violence and IPV and to tailor treatment for clients who present with such issues.
Another disruptive consequence of disordered gambling is gambling-related crime, and it has been suggested that problem gamblers are three times more likely to be arrested than low-risk gamblers and seven times more likely than non-gamblers. To date, the impact and consequences of prisoners presenting with gambling problems is unknown, and for those that do present with gambling problems, there is no standardised intervention established for use in prison. Next, the presentation will document some of our findings from a study carried out at a prison in the UK. In this study, we aimed to provide data on the prevalence of problem gambling in prison, and the relationship between crime and gambling, both before and within prison itself. We hope this data will provide the foundation for further funding to develop a screening tool for use in prison settings to assist in the identification of gambling problems, and assess the feasibility of developing and implementing a brief intervention.
Finally, the presentation will focus on treatment in the UK. The Gordon Moody Association (GMA) is the UK’s primary gambling-specific residential treatment facility, combining group and individual treatment programmes, in a community rehabilitation setting. Working with GMA, we sought to analyse the gambling behaviour and profile of treatment seeking gamblers. A snapshot of the data from the GMA will be presented showing that the current legislative framework overall in the UK is perhaps not quite doing enough to protect those most at risk. Related to this I will look at a brief pilot study investigating attitudes towards gambling in Primary Care settings and ask should it be General Practitioners who screen for gambling disorders in the first instance?
All our data sets have provided important information to clinicians, policy-makers and gambling legislators in the UK and beyond.