Cultural understandings of the pathways leading to problem gambling: Medical disorder or failure of self-regulation?

Abstract

A wide variety of potential pathways to problem gambling have been put forward in previous research. However, cultural differences in the understandings of these pathways have not been previously considered. This article utilises group interview data collected from self-identified recreational gamblers in two different cultural contexts, Finland and France, to study the underlying cultural understandings of the processes of problem gambling. Pathways relating to the structural and the individual level as well as to players and games were found in both cultural contexts, but the French emphasised a biological proneness for gambling problems while the Finns highlighted the importance of knowing how to deal with wins and losses in gambling situations. The Finnish respondents were more prone to put forward individual responsibility for gambling problems while for the French gambling problems were considered a medical condition beyond individual control. The results confirm that the cultural and institutional context influencing these understandings should be accommodated in any model considering the pathways leading to problem gambling. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved) (journal abstract)

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