The use of self-management strategies for problem gambling: A scoping review [open-access article]

Abstract
Background: Problem gambling (PG) is a serious public health concern that disproportionately affects people experiencing poverty, homelessness, and multimorbidity including mental health and substance use concerns. Little research has focused on self-help and self-management in gambling recovery, despite evidence that a substantial number of people do not seek formal treatment. This study explored the literature on PG self-management strategies. Self-management was defined as the capacity to manage symptoms, the intervention, health consequences and altered lifestyle that accompanies a chronic health concern.

Methods: We searched 10 databases to identity interdisciplinary articles from the social sciences, allied health professions, nursing and psychology, between 2000 and June 28, 2017. We reviewed records for eligibility and extracted data from relevant articles. Studies were included in the review if they examined PG self-management strategies used by adults (18+) in at least a subset of the sample, and in which PG was confirmed using a validated diagnostic or screening tool.

Results: We conducted a scoping review of studies from 2000 to 2017, identifying 31 articles that met the criteria for full text review from a search strategy that yielded 2662 potential articles. The majority of studies examined self-exclusion (39%), followed by use of workbooks (35%), and money or time limiting strategies (17%). The remaining 8% focused on cognitive, behavioural and coping strategies, stress management, and mindfulness.

Conclusions: Given that a minority of people with gambling concerns seek treatment, that stigma is an enormous barrier to care, and that PG services are scarce and most do not address multimorbidity, it is important to examine the personal self-management of gambling as an alternative to formalized treatment. Article available online

Reference: Matheson, F.L. et al. (2019). The use of self-management strategies for problem gambling: A scoping review. BMC Public Health, 19:445 https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-019-6755-8

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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.

An Investigation of the Association Between Shame and Problem Gambling: The Mediating Role of Maladaptive Coping Motives

Hera E. Schlagintweit, Kara Thompson, Abby L. Goldstein, Sherry H. Stewart.

Despite often being considered equivalent affective states, shame and guilt have differential associations with problem gambling with only shame showing a strong positive association with problem gambling. However, little is known about the mechanisms underlying the shame-problem gambling association. Further, shame and guilt are associated with distinct coping strategies, with shame motivating maladaptive coping (e.g., avoidance, escape) and guilt motivating adaptive coping (e.g., taking corrective action). This study aimed to examine whether maladaptive coping motives for gambling mediate the relationship between shame, but not guilt, and gambling problems. Participants were 196 (126 male) regular gamblers who completed a same and guilt scale, the Problem Gambling Severity Index, and a modified Gambling Motives Questionnaire, which assessed individual motives to engage in gambling for coping, enhancement, or social reasons. Results indicated that coping motives for gambling fully mediated the relationship between shame and problem gambling severity, but did not mediate the association between guilt and problem gambling severity. Experiencing shame contributes to problem gambling as a result of gambling to cope with negative affect. Cultivating more adaptive strategies to cope with shame may be effective in preventing and treating problem gambling.

The relationship between gambling attitudes, involvement, and problems in adolescence: Examining the moderating role of coping strategies and parenting styles

Several factors are associated with an increased risk of adolescent problem gambling, including positive gambling attitudes, higher levels of gambling involvement, ineffective coping strategies and unhelpful parenting practices. It is less clear, however, how these factors interact or influence each other in the development of problem gambling behavior during adolescence. The aim of the current study was to simultaneously explore these predictors, with a particular focus on the extent to which coping skills and parenting styles may moderate the expected association between gambling involvement and gambling problems…

Source: Dixon, R. W., Youssef, G. J., Hasking, P., Yücel, M., Jackson, A. C., & Dowling, N. A. (n.d.). The relationship between gambling attitudes, involvement, and problems in adolescence: Examining the moderating role of coping strategies and parenting styles. Addictive Behaviors. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.addbeh.2016.02.011

Perceived stigma and self-stigma of problem gambling: perspectives of people with gambling problems

Open-access article.

Minimal research has investigated the stigma associated with problem gambling, despite its major hindrance to help-seeking and recovery. This study explored perceived stigma and self-stigma to examine stigmatizing beliefs held, how they may be internalized, coping mechanisms, and effects on help-seeking. In-depth interviews with 44 people experiencing gambling problems were analysed using interpretive phenomenology. Results revealed an overwhelming perception that problem gambling attracts acute public stigma and is publicly viewed as caused by personal failings. Participants had serious concerns about being viewed as ‘a problem gambler’, fearing demeaning stereotypes, social rejection, hostile responses and devaluing behaviours.

Source: Hing, N., Nuske, E., Gainsbury, S. M., & Russell, A. M. T. (2015). Perceived stigma and self-stigma of problem gambling: perspectives of people with gambling problems. International Gambling Studies, 0(0), 1–18. http://doi.org/10.1080/14459795.2015.1092566