An Exploratory Study of the Impacts of Gambling on Affected Others Accessing a Social Service

Jason Landon, Elizabeth Grayson, Amanda Roberts

Problem gambling affects many people beyond the problem gambler themselves. Help-seeking is relatively rare among affected others, especially those in lower socio-economic communities. However, these affected others are sometimes in contact with other support agencies. The present research interviewed 10 people seeking support through a social agency who reported being affected by someone else’s gambling. Data from semi-structured interviews were analysed using an inductive descriptive approach to identify three themes: (1) This is ugly, (2) It affects everything and (3) I just do it by myself. The results highlight the normality of harmful gambling across generations, the lack of any positive aspects to gambling for affected others and the impacts on families and children. Specific gambling-related help-seeking remains rare; however, the opportunity to provide support, information and advice on approaches to coping to affected others as they contact social services is highlighted.


Breaking Bad: Comparing Gambling Harms Among Gamblers and Affected Others

Li, E., Browne, M., Rawat, V., Langham, E., & Rockloff, M.

This article examines gambling harms from both gamblers and affected others’ perspectives. Participants (3076 gamblers and 2129 affected others) completed a retrospective survey that elicited information on harms they experienced from gambling across their lifetime. Their responses were analyzed through testing measurement invariance, estimating item-response theoretic parameters, calculating percentages, confidence intervals, and correlations, as well as regressions. The results indicated large commonalities in the experience of harms reported by gamblers and affected others. Further, gamblers appeared to ‘export’ about half of the harms they experienced to those around them. The findings also provided detailed profiles of evolving harms as problem gambling severity varies.

Li, E., Browne, M., Rawat, V., Langham, E., & Rockloff, M. (2016). Breaking Bad: Comparing Gambling Harms Among Gamblers and Affected Others. Journal of Gambling Studies, 1–26.

Gambling and the Couple: Comparing Gamblers’ and Spouses’ Views on Family, Marital and Individual Levels

Open source article. 

This study compares the perspectives of 19 pathological gamblers with those of 13 pathological gamblers’ spouses (N = 31) with regard to family (i.e., family functioning and quality of life), marital variables (i.e., dyadic adjustment and marital satisfaction) and individual variables (i.e., congruence, differentiation of the self and psychopathological symptomatology). Regarding individual functioning, the gamblers and spouses presented with psychological symptomatology, as both had values that are typical for emotionally disturbed populations. Moreover, the gamblers showed additional difficulties with regard to congruence. The results show that the gamblers’ perspectives on family and marital life were less affected by difficulties, yet this difference was most pronounced in marital life. The primary limitations of the current study are regarding the independence of the subsamples (i.e., the participants were married or had marital life partners but were not couples) and the small sample size. Nevertheless, the current results call into question the ‘truths’ that are taken for granted by previous literature (e.g., gambler’s perceptions of marital problems) and highlight the challenges that couples’ therapists face regarding perspective differences in couples experiencing a gambling problem.

Source: Cunha, D., & Relvas, A. P. (2015). Gambling and the Couple: Comparing Gamblers’ and Spouses’ Views on Family, Marital and Individual Levels. Journal of Gambling Issues.