Insights into gambling : perspectives from self-identified problem gamblers
Barrett, Darlene Frances
Master of Social Work
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This study examines the issue of public gambling behavior from the perspective of six self-identified gamblers. All six participants were assessed to ensure that evidence of pathological gambling was present. In depth interviews were conducted with each respondent and the data was compiled and compared. The sample size is small due to the qualitative nature of this research and as such, the results are exploratory and preliminary. Findings from this study suggest that treatment approaches that focus on individual behavioral changes of the problem gambler may have limited effectiveness. The nature and etiology of problem gambling appears to be embedded and sustained in the extended family friend network. A substantial finding within this qualitative study is that family pressure, family participation, family encouragement and family introduction to gambling has an impact on whether or not a gambler develops and maintains a gambling problem. Hence, this study supports other research findings for a biopsychosocial approach to gambling behavior. Furthermore, findings indicate that these problem gamblers see no need to seek treatment which confirms the need to look at the biopsychosocial approach within an environmental context where decisions are made about the type, extensiveness and accessibility that society has to gambling opportunities. Government support for gambling as a significant revenue generator in this neoconservative era where the tax base is dwindling due to a complexity of factors such as aging population, technology replacing labour, and the decoupling of taxable capital assets from profits may prove to have many unintended consequences.