Abbott MW, McKenna BG. J Gambl Stud. 2005 Winter;21(4):559-81.
Ninety-four recently sentenced women prisoners were interviewed to assess aspects of their gambling involvement, problem gambling and relationships between gambling and criminal offending.
A third of the women, on the basis of their SOGS-R scores, were assessed as lifetime probable pathological gamblers and just under a quarter were assessed as probable pathological gamblers during the 6 months prior to imprisonment.
For women prisoners, a preference for non-casino gaming machines and housie were predictive of problem gambling. Relative to non-problem gamblers, problem gamblers experienced higher rates of childhood conduct disorder and current non-psychotic mental disorder.
Just over a quarter of prisoners and a half of the problem gamblers had committed a crime to obtain money to gamble. Few women said their early offending or convictions related to gambling. It was concluded that most women were “criminals first and problem gamblers second” rather than people whose offending careers commenced as a consequence of problem gambling.
However, the extent of problem gambling-related offending among the women prisoners highlights the potential for comprehensive assessment and treatment programs in prison to reduce recidivism and other adverse impacts of problem gambling and gambling-related offending.