Introduction Military veterans are at heightened risk of problem gambling. Little is known about the costs of problem gambling and related harm among United Kingdom (UK) Armed Forces (AF) veterans. We investigated the social and economic costs of gambling among a large sample of veterans through differences in healthcare and social service resource use compared with age-matched and gender-matched non-veterans from the UK AF Veterans’ Health and Gambling Study.
Methods An online survey measured sociodemographic characteristics, gambling experience and problem severity, mental health and healthcare resource utilisation. Healthcare provider, personal social service and societal costs were estimated as total adjusted mean costs and utility, with cost-consequence analysis of a single timepoint.
Results Veterans in our sample had higher healthcare, social service and societal costs and lower utility. Veterans had greater contacts with the criminal justice system, received more social service benefits, had more lost work hours and greater accrued debt. A cost difference of £590 (95% CI −£1016 to −£163) was evident between veterans with scores indicating problem gambling and those reporting no problems. Costs varied by problem gambling status.
Conclusions Our sample of UK AF veterans has higher healthcare, social service and societal costs than non-veterans. Veterans experiencing problem gambling are more costly but have no reduction in quality of life.
- health economics
- mental health
- adult psychiatry
- public health
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Contributors SH, RP, CA, MF, LH, NK, JL, RR and SD designed the study. SH, RP, GD and KW collected the data and conducted the statistical analysis. SH, GD and SD completed the first draft of the manuscript and all authors contributed to and approved the final manuscript.
Funding This work was supported by a grant from Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT17/0510S).
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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