Do male and female gamblers have the same burden of adversity over their life course?


The objective of this research is to investigate gender difference and the burden of adversity during the life course of people who develop gambling problems. A sample of 86 adult participants met the criteria for at-risk problem gambling over the last 5 years. Data were obtained from informants during semi-structured face-to-face interviews, using SCID I and II, SOGS, Module K and a recount of life trajectories methodology. The results showed a high level of adversity throughout the life trajectories of the men and women studied. The results indicated that the major load of mental health disorders, the presence of anxiety disorders and co-morbid mental health disorders are more significant among women. Results also indicated a significant presence of violence in the lives of both men and women during early childhood and adolescence. During adulthood, women are more likely to be victims of intimate partner or marital violence whereas men tended to cumulate difficulties in social fields and especially in their professional lives. This significant burden of adversity creates a number of difficulties which makes it complicated to isolate gambling activities. Clinicians might have difficulty detecting female gamblers during consultation, especially when they present with co-morbid mental health disorders and violence issues.

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