Gambling among the Chinese: A comprehensive review

Abstract

Despite being a significant issue, there has been a lack of systematic reviews on gambling and problem gambling {(PG)} among the Chinese. Thus, this paper attempts to fill this theoretical gap. A literature search of social sciences databases (from 1840 to now) yielded 25 articles with a total sample of 12,848 Chinese community participants and 3397 clinical participants. The major findings were: (1) Social gambling is widespread among Chinese communities as it is a preferred form of entertainment. (2) Prevalence estimates for {PG} have increased over the years and currently ranged from 2.5% to 4.0%. (3) Chinese problem gamblers consistently have difficulty admitting their issue and seeking professional help for fear of losing respect. (4) Theories, assessments, and interventions developed in the West are currently used to explain and treat {PG} among the Chinese. There is an urgent need for theory-based interventions specifically tailored for Chinese problem gamblers. (5) Cultural differences exist in patterns of gambling when compared with Western samples; however, evidence is inconsistent. Methodological considerations in this area of research are highlighted and suggestions for further investigation are also included. (6) Much of gambling research has focused on identifying risk factors and at-risk individuals. It is essential to balance this knowledge with a focus on fundamental character strengths, which act as protective factors and motivate one to refrain from gambling.

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