Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Do stress and strain lead to deviant behavior?

Public Release: 22-Nov-2016
Do stress and strain lead to deviant behavior?
Study looks at how people use substances and gambling to cope with stressful events

Chances are good that youngsters growing up around family members who gamble will also start doing so to release the strains of daily living. This is not necessarily true for adolescents whose family members find their escape in alcohol or drugs. Given that gambling and substance abuse are both potentially addictive, and often go hand in hand, this is a significant finding and one of the many interesting results of a new study just published. Romy Greco and Antonietta Curci of the Libera University SS Maria Assunta (LUMSA) in Italy conducted the research, which appears in Springer's Journal of Gambling Studies.


The findings support the idea that strain leads to inner-directed deviant behavior such as gambling or substance abuse, as well as to negative emotions such as depression and anger. In all, 97 percent of participants experienced depressive emotions and 96 percent felt anger following stressful events. Women more often felt depressed, while men found more release in gambling and substance. People tended to gamble more frequently once their depressive emotions about a negative life event subsided.

Younger participants were angrier about the strain they experienced, and likely to more frequently gamble or abuse substances than adults in similar situations did. "Adolescence and the beginning of adulthood are the most deviant times in life, on account of the accumulation of numerous stressful experiences in a very short time," elaborates Greco.

The study further found that growing up in a family where addictive behaviours are common strongly predicts whether someone will also have such tendencies. "The involvement and tendency to gamble in particular appears to be strongly influenced by the modelling of family members with respect to dysfunctional coping strategies like substance use and gambling," says Curci.

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