Recovery from problem gambling: A qualitative study

Abstract

This analysis examined the routes in and out of problem gambling exploring the motivations, attitudes and self-perceptions of 50 gamblers and problem gamblers. The main findings of this research are outlined below. Gamblers participating in this research saw their gambling behaviour in a variety of ways and distinguished between more and less damaging ways to gamble. The research showed that ceasing to gamble meant different things to different individuals. While some ceased all gambling activity others only ceased temporarily. The authors suggested that there is a need for a more differentiated view of gambling. Perceptions and realisation of problems were crucial for gamblers in changing their behaviour. Concerns about money were important in relation to this. The authors recommended that advertising could be targeted more effectively to prompt people to address their gambling problems. Family and friends played an important role in gamblers' attempts to address their behaviour suggesting that these groups represent an important target for social education campaigns and support. This research offered some limited evidence of natural recovery from problem gambling through 'maturing out', and shows the variety of ways in which individuals' gambling may change in response to different external stimuli. The authors concluded that gambling problems do not reside solely within the psychological make-up of individual gamblers. They suggested that there is a need for greater awareness of the way life events may help or hinder individuals' attempts to address their gambling behaviour.

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