Gambling in Brazil: Lifetime prevalences and socio-demographic correlates

Hermano Tavares, Elizabeth Carneiro, Marcos Sanches, Ilana Pinsky, Raul Caetano, Marcos Zaleski, Ronaldo Laranjeira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Gambling has experienced world-wide growth. The current study is the first national survey into household gambling conducted in a developing country. The sample was a three-stage probabilistic one designed to cover individuals 14 years old or older, of both genders and from all regions of the national territory; 325 census sectors were visited, including rural areas. DSM-IV-based instruments were used to assess problem and pathological gambling; individuals were asked to estimate their monthly gambling expenditure. The lifetime prevalences were: pathological gambling 1.0%, and problem gambling 1.3%. Maximum gambling expenditure corresponded to 5.4% of the household income for social gamblers, 16.9% for problem gamblers and 20.0% for pathological gamblers. The male:female ratio among adults for pathological gambling was 3.2:1. The data suggest the existence of two subgroups of pathological gamblers, one younger (33.9±4.19) and severe (7 or more DSM-IV criteria), another older (47.8±6.01) and less severe (5-6 criteria). In a multinomial logistic regression, problematic gambling was associated with gender, age, education, employment, region of origin and living in metropolitan areas. The data suggest that feeling active and socially inserted protects against problematic gambling. Individuals who are young, male, unemployed or not currently pursuing further education may be at special risk for severe pathological gambling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)35-41
Number of pages7
JournalPsychiatry research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 30 2010


  • Demography
  • Developing countries
  • Epidemiology
  • Gambling expenditure
  • Income
  • Pathological gambling
  • Probability sample

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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