Date: 09 May 2007

Linked Lives: Adult Children’s Experiences of Late Onset Parental Gambling Problems

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Empirical studies indicate how parental gambling affects young children, but we do not know how adult children cope when parents develop gambling problems in middle or late life. The primary aim of this qualitative study was to explore adult children’s experiences and perspectives in regard to late onset parental gambling. Greater knowledge is needed to inform the development of counselling and advisory services and public policy more generally. Participants were 15 adult children whose lives had been in some way affected by parental gambling. Data were gathered through in-depth interviews and written accounts. Findings indicate that the problems and dilemmas created by parental gambling have the potential to impose considerable stress on adult children and that some of these children are heavily involved in the provision of informal care. Implications for formal services are discussed.