Association between gambling and self-harm: A scoping review

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Description: Problem gambling might be associated with risk for self-harm, broadly construed (i.e., suicidal thoughts and behaviors and non-suicidal self-injury; see Nock, 2009 for a typology of intentional self-injury). Such associations would have urgent implications for self-harm screening, assessment, and intervention among people who experience problem gambling. However, it is unclear what kind of information is available in the literature about the potential association between problem gambling and self-harm. Further, gambling, more broadly, is associated with hazardous drinking and other risky behaviors. Given that risk behaviors tend to cluster, it is also important to consider gambling’s relationship with other dangerous behaviors including self-harm. Therefore, we will conduct a scoping review to systematically map the existing research in this area. We will search several electronic databases and chart included studies on a number of characteristics, including level of evidence (Ackley et al., 2008). We will construe “gambling” broadly, to encompass the full spectrum of gambling behavior (i.e., from gambling participation to clinically diagnosable Gambling Disorder). This scoping review will identify any potential gaps in knowledge and determine whether a formal meta-analysis identifying the strength of association between gambling and self-harm is feasible and of value.

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