Life course analysis of gambling trajectories: An Indigenous Australian study


Traditional card gambling is a culturally acceptable recreational activity for generations of Indigenous Australians. Commercial gambling activities are popular as well. This study drew on a life course approach and a sample of 57 Indigenous Australian people to examine their gambling trajectories over time that resulted in recreational gambling or in disordered gambling. To gain in-depth insight into various gambling trajectories, this study used an interpretative phenomenological methodology. At early childhood, teenage, young adult and mature adult stages, major gambling influences appeared as dependence, independence, timing of major shifts and transitions, and rationalization, respectively. The study showed that being a recreational or disordered gambler was a shifting or fluctuating position, subject to transitions and events in people's lives rather than a one-way path in either direction. Within a complex cultural environment, the dynamic interplay between social density, context and individual choice appears to influence gambling trajectories for these Indigenous Australians.

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