Significant life events and social connectedness in Australian women’s gambling experiences

Document Type


Publication details

Nuske, EM, Holdsworth, L & Breen, H 2015, 'Significant life events and social connectedness in Australian women’s gambling experiences', Nordic Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, vol. 33, no. 1, pp. 7-25.

Article available on Open Access

Peer Reviewed



Aim: The aim is to examine significant life events and social connections that encourage some women to gamble. Specifically, how do these events and connections described as important for women who develop gambling-related problems differ for women who remain recreational gamblers?
Design: 20 women who were electronic gaming machine (EGMs, poker machines, slots) players were interviewed using a brief interview guide. They also completed the nine question Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI) from the Canadian Problem Gambling Index CPGI). 11 women self-identified as recreational gamblers (RG) while 9 had sought and received help for their gambling problems (PG). Using a feminist, qualitative design and an adaptive grounded theory method to analyze their histories, a number of themes emerged indicating a progression to problem gambling for some and the ability to recognise when control over gambling was needed by others.
Results: Although both groups (RG and PG) reported common gambling motivations differences appeared in the strength of their social support networks and ways of coping with stress, especially stress associated with a significant life event.
Consclusions: The human need for social connectedness and personal bonds with others emphasised the usefulness of using social capital theories in gambling research with women.

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