Links between Trauma, Homelessness and Gambling Harm

People who experience gambling harm are more likely to have experienced trauma and adversity in their childhood. People who experience homelessness are also more likely to have experienced trauma and adversity in their childhood.

Gambling harm is more prevalent for people experiencing homelessness, as they may use gambling activities to manage their emotional distress from trauma as gambling
can provide:

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People who have experienced trauma are more likely to experience negative emotions and psychological distress. Gambling products that are repetitive and fast-paced such as slots can produce a sense of dissociation or ‘flow’ which may be used as an escape from negative emotions.

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Experience of trauma can mean a child is more likely to develop impulsivity, which then extends into adulthood and feeds into the experience of gambling harn.

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False sense of control

Gambling venues may offer a sense of comfort and safety for people experiencing instability or uncertainty. Similarly, online products may feel reliable as they are ‘always there’ and accessible 24/7, no matter what is going on in your life.

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A way of coping

Trauma contributes to emotional vulnerability. This may lead to gambling as a coping mechanism, or as a mood enhancer.

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Trauma may lead people to withdraw or experience social isolation. Gambling may provide a leisure activity where people feel they belong and are part of a community.