ADDICTA: The Turkish Journal on Addictions
Original Articles

Gambling Harm and the Prevention Paradox in Massachusetts


School of Public Health and Health Sciences, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, MA, USA


Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, Canada

Addicta 2021; 8: 162-170
DOI: 10.5152/ADDICTA.2021.21114
Read: 535 Downloads: 240 Published: 01 December 2021

The term “prevention paradox” focuses on the notion that more aggregate harm is experienced by low-risk individuals even though high-risk individuals experience the greatest amount of harm per individual. This paper examines whether the prevention paradox in relation to gambling harms exists in Massachusetts. The analysis is drawn from two population surveys and the distribution of harms across four gambling severity groups is examined. The results show that because of the larger size of the three lower severity groups, even the much smaller average number of harms endorsed by members of these groups accounts for nearly three-quarters (72.9%) of the aggregate number of harms across all groups. While almost all individuals in the highest severity group report one or more harms, any individual reporting one or more harms is more likely to be in a lower severity group. Financial, health, and emotional/psychological harms are more common and more broadly distributed across the gambling severity groups compared to relationship, work/school, and illegal harms. In contrast to a similar study in Finland, which found that the most severe group accounted for over 50% of the harms in the health, relationship, and illegal harm domains, the prevention paradox is supported across all harm domains in Massachusetts.

Cite this article as: Volberg, R. A., Zorn, M., Williams, R. J., & Evans, V. (2021). Gambling harm and the prevention paradox in Massachusetts. Addicta: The Turkish Journal on Addictions., 8(3), 162-170.

ISSN 2148-7286 EISSN 2149-1305