Adverse Childhood Events (ACE) are negative experiences (such as abuse, neglect, dysfunctional household dynamics, and parental substance abuse, etc) during childhood that have been associated with different types of physical and mental conditions in adulthood. Researchers in Canada looked specifically at the impact of ACEs on gambling addictions in adulthood and looked at whether emotional dysregulation impacts this relationship. Emotional dysregulation is when an individual finds it difficult to identify, monitor, and evaluate emotional experiences related to an event. The researchers found that:
- Participants that reported a greater number of ACEs were more likely to report problem gambling
- Each type of ACE that was studied, was associated with problem gambling except physical abuse
- 30% of participants who did not gamble problematically had no history of ACEs, while only 14% of people who gamble problematically had no history of ACEs
- Participants who reported 3 types of ACE (i.e. neglect, witnessing domestic violence and parental substance abuse) were three times more likely to report problem gambling than participants who report not having a history of ACE
- The researchers found that the relationship between ACEs and problem gambling was mediated by emotional dysregulation
The researchers suggested the importance of the added effects of ACEs as opposed to the type of ACE. They also suggest that treating emotional dysregulation may be helpful in addressing the impacts of ACE on people who gamble problematically.
What are your thoughts?
Do you find that ACEs are being explored during the assessments and treatment of problematic gambling? Are their barriers that might prevent a clinician to further explore this area?