Processes of recovery from problem gambling: a qualitative exploration

Christine, Lyle (2014) Processes of recovery from problem gambling: a qualitative exploration. MPhil(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Gambling addiction (also referred to as ‘problem gambling’ or ‘compulsive gambling’’) is a phenomenon which has escalated in parallel to the continuing popularity of gambling activities in many countries. While studies have documented the growth of commercial betting culture, there remains uncertainty regarding the most effective way to treat individuals who have developed compulsive problems with gambling. It is not fully understood what motivates gamblers to engage with a recovery option, and so exploration is required of how people recognise problematic behaviour, and what determines their choice of formal support or a self-help journey.

Using a series of in-depth qualitative interviews, this study examines the experiences of 6 individuals with the aim to understand the complex factors surrounding their participation with betting activities. Of interest are the triggers which influence their decision to seek help, and the strategies these individuals adopted in order to control their gambling and avoid relapsing.

Using thematic analysis and critical theory, the research material is organised and analysed in three categories of social networks, identity, and money, which allowed the significant concepts within the interviews to be compared against relevant literature.

The overall analysis from this project adds validity to the emerging perspective that recovery from problem gambling is not a linear route from problematic to controlled behaviour, but is instead cyclical and unpredictable. For example, during the recovery period, a gambler’s perception of their own identity is not always viewed positively which results in progression being hindered by low self-esteem. Similarly, individuals often enter and exit support programmes multiple times due to situations of relapse or changes in living arrangements which interrupts therapy schedules.

This study concludes that the recovery routes of professional support and self-help should not be considered as a strict “either/or” choice for individuals – successful treatment can be achieved from a blend of formal group settings and informal social networks. Furthermore, while the recovery process is certainly not simple due to the complexities involved with people’s lives, there do appear to be simplistic erroneous perceptions held by gamblers and other members of the public with regard to what treatment involves, and which services are available. Subsequently, a recommendation can be made for greater public awareness of compulsive addiction as a condition, and how to choose a suitable recovery program.

Item Type: Thesis (MPhil(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Keywords: Gambling, problem, addiction, compulsive, recovery, qualitative, interviews
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Sociology Anthropology and Applied Social Sciences
Supervisor's Name: Reith, Professor Gerda and Waites, Dr. Matthew
Date of Award: 2014
Depositing User: Mr Lyle Christine
Unique ID: glathesis:2014-5470
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 12 Sep 2014 12:15
Last Modified: 12 Sep 2014 12:24

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