How Can Partners Influence the Gambling Habits of Their Gambler Spouse?

  • Mélissa CôtéEmail author
  • Joël Tremblay
  • Susana Jiménez-Murcia
  • Fernando Fernàndez-Aranda
  • Natacha Brunelle
Original Paper


An increasing number of clinical and empirical studies document the coping strategies used by partners of pathological gamblers (PGs). A postulate for this is that they may be useful for dealing with their partner’s problematic gambling behaviors. Despite a widespread endorsement of this postulate, no study has yet documented their effectiveness: does the use of these coping strategies impact the gambler’s behavior? To answer this question, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 19 participants (8 couples comprising one PG and his or her partner, one partner of a PG, and 2 PGs). Qualitative analysis of the interviews lead to a first main observation: via diverse coping strategies, partners of PGs can influence their spouse’s gambling behaviors. The impact of these strategies may occur as initially expected by partners, that is by a reduction of gambling behaviors. However, the use of certain strategies can also increase the PG’s gambling cravings, though this is not generally their partner’s intention.


Coping strategies Gambling disorder Partner Couple Influence gambling habits 



This study was made possible thanks to the financial support of the Institut universitaire sur les dépendances (IUD; university institute on addiction), which is now part of the CIUSSS du Centre-Sud-de-l’Île-de-Montréal (integrated university health and social services center for the central south region of the Island of Montréal), and from the Fonds de recherche du Québec - Société et culture (FRQSC, Québec research funds – society and culture), as part of a concerted effort focusing on the socioeconomic impact of gambling (financing Granted to Joël Tremblay and colleagues).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethics Approval

Approval granted from (1) CEREH, Comité d’éthique de la recherche avec des êtres humains, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières. Approved on December 18, 2014 (CÉRD # 2014-169) and (2) CERD, Comité d’éthique de la recherche en dépendance, Centre intégré universitaire de santé et de services sociaux du Centre-Sud-de-l’Île-de-Montréal. Approved on December 17, 2014 (CER-14-206-07.14).


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Psychoeducation DepartmentUniversité du Québec à Trois-RivièresQuebecCanada
  2. 2.Hôpital universitaire de BellvitgeBarcelonaSpain

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