Cryptocurrency trading may be linked to problem gambling, anxiety and depression in young men, University of Queensland research has found.
Research student Ben Johnson from UQ’s National Center for Youth Drug Research (NCYSUR) reviewed existing studies on cryptocurrency trading and its association with gambling and mental health.
“We found that there were strong similarities in the behaviors of cryptocurrency traders and problem gamblers, such as spending too much time checking trades, spending more on recovering losses, borrowing money, impulsivity and novelty seeking,” Johnson said.
“The survey also showed that it was usually young men, who are typically risk-takers, who were attracted to cryptocurrency trading.
“Cryptocurrency prices regularly fall by more than 50 percent, putting investors at risk of sudden and dramatic financial losses.
“This may be associated with negative mental health, with some traders reporting anxiety, depression, psychological distress and loneliness.”
Cryptocurrencies are digital assets that are traded online in markets that never close, often with mobile phone applications that allow continuous and remote trading.
Traders spent an average of 2.3 hours per day on the activity and participated in other forms of gambling such as sports betting or card games.
NCYSUR Research Fellow Dr. Daniel Stjepanovic said it was important for young people to understand the connection between cryptocurrency trading and problem gambling.
“Cryptocurrency trading has a large presence on social media, which may contribute to its popularity among young people,” said Dr. Stjepanovic.
“It is important that people are aware that there is a connection between cryptocurrency and problem gambling so that they can make informed decisions.
“Despite the high risks associated with cryptocurrency trading, there is currently a lack of research into the potential impacts on mental health.
“Our research has highlighted a need for further research into the potential damage the activity can have on a person’s relationships and employment.”
The research is published in Addictive behavior,