A Critical Analysis of Interventions for Women Harmed by Others’ Gambling
Keywords:gambling, families, concerned significant others, treatment, support
At present, gambling studies literature has multiple understandings of family and others affected (FAOs) by gambling harm and their support needs in play, each with different possibilities and constraints for harm reduction engagement with women. Individual psychological approaches have been privileged, eschewing the social and relational situation of gambling and harm in women’s lives. In Australasia, the majority of those seeking support in relation to a significant others’ gambling are women. Gender has been posited as a shaping force in the social stratification system, distribution of resources, and gambling and harm within society. There has been minimal engagement with the lived experiences of FAOs, which limits gambling harm reduction service development and planning. This research critically engaged with gambling harm reduction studies for FAOs, alongside interviews with eight women FAOs who presented to community services from a social constructionist perspective. The aim was to provide insight into how women FAOs position themselves and their support needs in relation to gambling harm and recovery. Data was analysed using thematic analysis informed by feminist poststructuralist theories of language. Results suggested that this small group of women were subject to intersecting patriarchal constraints and economic determinants of gambling harm. Powerful normative and moral constructions of ‘good/bad’ mothers operated to individualise some women’s responsibility for addressing harm in families and to alienate these women from gambling support services. These findings suggest that gambling services must support women and families in ways that go beyond personal functioning, extending into the social and political conditions of possibility for harm and recovery. Critical psychology and coherent gender analysis may offer opportunities to expand the role of gambling support to include advocacy, community development, and more client-led and gender-aware practice with women affected by gambling harm.
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Copyright (c) 2021 Katie Palmer du Preez, Jason Landon, Laura Maunchline, Rebecca Thurlow
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Authors retain copyright of their work, with first publication rights granted to Critical Gambling Studies.