GambleAware commissioned research to identify the best practice to measure problem gambling across Great Britain
On 14 May, GambleAware published commissioned research into the methodological disparities surveys estimating gambling harms in Great Britain. The research was triggered by a 2019 YouGov study which reported significantly higher rates of gambling harms across Great Britain than had previously been reported by the 2016 and 2018 Health Surveys for England.
Authored by Professor Patrick Sturgis and Professor Jouni Kuha of the London School of Economics, the research indicates that surveys conducted wholly or primarily online tend to overestimate the prevalence of gambling harms. The researchers contended that this was a result of selection bias in online surveys.
In light of the findings, the researchers shared the following recommendations for future prevalence surveys:
- Given the high and rising cost of in person surveys, measurement of gambling prevalence and harm should move to online surveying.
- The move to online interviewing should be combined with a programme of methodological testing and development to mitigate selection bias.
- Prevalence surveys should include a mix of both face-to-face and online methods.
Professor Patrick Sturgis, Department of Methodology at the London School of Economics, said in a statement:
Our research has found that online surveys tend to systematically overestimate the prevalence of gambling harm compared to face-to-face interview surveys. However, given the very high and rising cost of in person surveying, and the limits this places on sample size and the frequency of surveys, we recommend a shift to predominantly online data collection in future, supplemented by periodic in person benchmarks.
Alison Clare, Research, Information and Knowledge Director at GambleAware, added:
We want our prevention, treatment, and support commissioning to be informed by the best available evidence, and having survey data we can be confident in, within the constraints of data collection in an increasingly online world, is key. GambleAware’s annual GB Treatment & Support survey is an important tool in building a picture of the stated demand for gambling harms support and treatment, and of the services, capacity and capability needed across Great Britain to meet that demand.
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