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A monetary valuation of the quality of life loss associated with pathological gambling: an application using a health utility index

Dimitri Kohler


This study estimates the Health Related Quality of Life (HRQoL) costs of gambling addiction. Pathological gamblers were recruited from treatment centers in Western Switzerland. The difference in HRQoL between pathological gamblers (n=52) and a sample drawn from the general population (n=93) was measured through a multi-item instrument, the SF-6D. We used a tobit regression to estimate the effect of pathological gambling on HRQoL, controlling for comorbidities and age. Finally, to obtain a monetary value of the HRQoL loss attributable to gambling addiction, we applied an existing value of a life year estimate. Results showed that pathological gambling is significantly associated with a decrease in the quality of life by 0.076 quality adjusted life year (QALY). The resulting cost per pathological gambler and per year was estimated at CHF 3,830. This study suggests that ignoring quality of life costs results in an underestimation of the social burden of gambling addiction.

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