Role of culture in gambling and problem gambling

Abstract

There has been a significant gap in the gambling literature regarding the role of culture in gambling and problem gambling (PG). This paper aims to this such gap by presenting a systematic review of the cultural variations in gambling and PG as well as a discussion of the role cultural variables can play in the initiation and maintenance of gambling in order to stimulate further research. The review shows that although studies investigating prevalence rates of gambling and PG among different cultures are not plentiful, evidence does suggest certain cultural groups are more vulnerable to begin gambling and to develop PG. Significant factors including familial/genetic, sociological, and individual factors have been found in the Western gambling literature as playing important roles in the development and maintenance of PG. These factors need to be examined now in other cultural groups so we can better understand the etiological processes involved in PG and design culturally sensitive treatments. In addition, variables, such as cultural values and beliefs, the process of acculturation, and the influence of culturally determined, help-seeking behaviors need to be also examined in relation to the role they could play in the initiation of and maintenance of gambling. Understanding the contribution of cultural variables will allow us to devise better prevention and treatment options for PG. Methodological problems in this area of research are highlighted, and suggestions for future research are included.

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