A Grounded Theory of the Influence of Significant Life Events, Psychological co-Morbidities and Related Social Factors on Gambling Involvement



This study aimed to explore how gambling involvement and gambling-related problems may be affected by significant life events, psychological co-morbidities and related social factors. Twenty recreational gamblers and 20 people experiencing gambling problems were interviewed, with reflective first-person accounts being analysed to develop a grounded theory. While both groups had experienced various significant life events and psychological co-morbidity, they coped with such events in different ways. The problem gambling group was found to increase their gambling involvement, unlike the recreational gambling group. In contrast to the problem gambling group, most recreational gamblers had strong social support networks and a resilience that helped them cope with significant life events and co-morbidities. A major finding of this study is the importance of resilience and social support when coping with adversity as protective factors against gambling problems. A grounded theory framework is presented as a basis for further research in this area.


Significant life events Psychological co-morbidities Social supports Resilience Problem gambling 



We would like to thank the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation for funding this project. We would also like to thank the participants who agreed to be interviewed.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Louise Holdsworth
    • 1
  • Elaine Nuske
    • 2
    • 3
  • Nerilee Hing
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Gambling Education and ResearchSouthern Cross UniversityLismoreAustralia
  2. 2.Centre for Gambling Education and ResearchSouthern Cross UniversityCoolangattaAustralia
  3. 3.School of Arts and Social SciencesSouthern Cross UniversityCoolangattaAustralia

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