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Factors that Influence Compulsive Gambling

Compulsive gambling, also known as gambling disorder, is an issue where someone has the constant urge to gamble - to the point where the feeling negatively impacts the individual’s life. Gambling can stimulate the brain’s reward system, which can lead to addiction as with drugs and alcohol. What factors can influence this gambling issue?

Keep reading to learn more about some of the factors that influence gambling. Although some of them are influenced by relationships, others have to do with more specific features like the age or sex of the individual. Let’s dive into some of the strongest factors that will influence compulsive gambling to help you, or a loved one seek the assistance you need.

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Lack of Strong Family Connection

According to one study from NCBI, there is a direct connection between family relationships and a potential issue with compulsive gambling. It’s a two-way street - a lack of family connection can cause compulsive gambling and could lead to a further gap in the relationship between the person impacted by compulsive gambling.

Those who don’t have a strong family connection are far more likely to become seriously addicted to gambling and develop compulsive habits than their counterparts who are very close to their loved ones. Most of the time these individuals are male, but there are some cases where females are impacted by this family connection trouble. 

Related: Gambling: The Positive and Negative Effects

Personality Characteristics

Personality characteristics, which are out of the person’s control, can also impact a potential compulsive gambling issue, according to several studies. Negative personality traits can include items like extreme pessimism, shyness, excessive worrying, and other items that could easily lead a person to make risky bets.

There are also smaller personality tendencies that can lead to a person gambling based on their character. For instance, someone who is looking for sensations has trouble making decisions, gets bored, is very competitive, or is more impulsive than others and is more prone to compulsive gambling tendencies. 

Related: Is There Any Way to Win at Gambling?

Mental Health Struggles

Another item that can lead to compulsive gambling is struggles with mental health. If you have a mental health disorder, it could make you far more vulnerable to compulsive gambling. According to Gateway Foundation, those with compulsive gambling issues also tend to have items like anxiety disorders, mood disorders, personality disorders, and OCD are vulnerable. 

When an individual gambles, there is a dopamine trigger in the brain. This action will make a person feel happy and content, which is an addiction to those with mental health struggles because they are seriously lacking that positive emotion. It feels like a form of medication for the impacted individual.

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If you’re younger you’re more prone to compulsive gambling. In particular, according to Responsible Gambling, those between the ages of 18-24 are more likely to find themselves hooked on gambling.

Younger individuals tend to get hooked on gambling, which then leads to addiction in the later years of life. The younger is most likely to adopt compulsive gambling tendencies. Also, those who started younger are more vulnerable.


According to one study, men are far more likely to take risks than their female counterparts. When translating this fact over to compulsive gambling, men are more likely to gamble in the first place and thus are most likely to become hooked.

Typically, men become addicted in their younger years of life and their compulsive gambling issues grow as they get older. Women are less likely to experience this struggle from the beginning.


Some medications can invoke compulsive gambling tendencies in those who are taking them. In particular, those who take dopamine agnostics could experience a sudden urge to gamble while taking them. These are used to treat items like restless leg syndrome and Parkinson’s disease

Unfortunately, many people need these medications to deal with their various issues. Those are significant side effects to consider before choosing these, though some who have no choice should have someone to hold them accountable and assist.

Pressure from Peers

Another big factor in developing compulsive gambling issues is pressure from peers. If someone is close to someone who gambles, they are much more likely to develop a gambling addiction and thus could slide into trouble later down the line. The influential individual could be a friend, family member, or another loved one.

According to one study, those who see a family member gambling tend to view the activity as harmless. They are more likely to participate in these activities without complete knowledge of the risks.


Culture also can push someone into compulsive gambling tendencies. The way a person grows up will seriously influence how they consider gambling. For instance, one study found that several minorities were more vulnerable to developing compulsive gambling.

Just because someone has a specific cultural background doesn’t mean they will succumb to a gambling addiction. However, it’s something to keep in mind if it applies to you.


A lack of self-esteem can seriously influence a person’s relationship with addictive items like gambling. If you have high self-esteem, you know what you need and can go elsewhere for assistance. If you have low self-esteem, you might turn to gambling to achieve happiness.

Luckily, there are ample ways to assist with self-esteem improvement. A simple pep talks each morning can make everything much better and lower serious risks.


Last on our list is stress. Individuals under extreme pressure are more likely to fall victim to compulsive gambling.

Gambling offers an easy solution for those with serious anxiety. When repeated enough times, it can become habitual and compulsive.

Final Thoughts

Compulsive gambling is a serious issue that can dramatically impact an individual’s life for the worse. Many items can lead to an individual becoming a compulsive gambler, including things in and out of control. Common influences include lack of strong family connections, age, culture, medications, culture, and more.

If you or someone you know is struggling with compulsive gambling, ensure you reach out for assistance as soon as possible. A professional will help you determine the influential factor that leads to compulsive gambling and will assist with the quality of your life.

You May Also Enjoy: Where Can You Get Help for a Gambling Addiction?

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