Journal of Gambling Studies

, Volume 33, Issue 1, pp 265–281 | Cite as

Practical Treatments Considering the Role of Sociocultural Factors on Problem Gambling

  • Kevin Richard
  • Timothy Baghurst
  • J. Michael Faragher
  • Erin Stotts
Review Paper


Reviews of problem gambling (PG) literature increasingly recognize the ways in which different ethnic groups are affected by gambling behaviors, yet discourse, which considers sociocultural factors within PG, remains limited. Literature on this topic is influenced by large inconsistencies amongst research studies, overlapping terminology, and variability in the validity of research studies, making conclusions difficult to draw. Despite these discrepancies, this paper explores how sociocultural factors influence PG among diverse cultural groups and provides specific practical implications for treating PG disorders in culturally diverse populations. Notable factors that exacerbate PG behavior cross-culturally include substance abuse, low socioeconomic status, lack of social activities, and geographic location. Culturally sensitive treatment options such as Motivational Interviewing and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy have been identified as effective treatments for PG with culturally diverse populations. This paper extends current thought by providing practical treatment recommendations that consider the subtle nuances of diverse populations. It explains how treatment providers and behavioral addiction professionals can increase their understanding and skills when conceptualizing PG clients from a diverse background.


Gambling Problem gambling Culture Race Ethnicity Research Treatment 


  1. Abt, V., & McGurrin, M. C. (1992). Commercial gambling and values in American society: The social construction of risk. Journal of Gambling Studies, 8, 413–420.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Alegría, A. A., Petry, N. M., Hasin, D. S., Liu, S. M., Grant, B. F., & Blanco, C. (2009). Disordered gambling among racial and ethnic groups in the US: Results from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions. CNS Spectrums, 14, 132–143.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  3. American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Andrade, L. F., & Petry, N. M. (2014). White problem gamblers discount delayed rewards less steeply than their African American and Hispanic counterparts. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 28, 599–606.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  5. Barry, D. T., Stefanovics, E. A., Desai, R. A., & Potenza, M. N. (2011). Gambling problem severity and psychiatric disorders among Hispanic and white adults: Findings from a nationally representative sample. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 45, 404–411.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Bhopal, R. (2004). Glossary of terms relating to ethnicity and race: For reflection and debate. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 58, 441–445.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  7. Blaszczynski, A., & Nower, L. (2002). A pathways model of problem and pathological gambling. Addiction, 97, 487–499.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Brenner, G. A., Lipeb, M., & Bikanda, P. (1993). The lottery player in Cameroon: An exploratory study. Journal of Gambling Studies, 9, 185–190.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Buckley, S. (Ed.). (2006). Encyclopedia of contemporary Japanese culture. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  10. Carmichael, B. A., Peppard, D. M., & Boudreau, F. A. (1996). Megaresort on my doorstep: Local resident attitudes toward Foxwoods Casino and casino gambling on nearby Indian reservation land. Journal of Travel Research, 34, 9–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cozzetto, D. A., & LaRocque, B. W. (1996). Compulsive gambling in the Indian community: A North Dakota case study. American Indian Culture and Research Journal, 20, 73–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Dhillon, J., Horch, J. D., & Hodgins, D. C. (2011). Cultural influences on stigmatization of problem gambling: East Asian and Caucasian Canadians. Journal of Gambling Studies, 27, 633–647.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Dickerson, M. G., Baron, E., Hong, S. M., & Cottrell, D. (1996). Estimating the extent and degree of gambling related problems in the Australian population: A national survey. Journal of Gambling Studies, 12, 161–178.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Fong, T. W., & Tsuang, J. (2007). Asian-Americans, addictions, and barriers to treatment. Psychiatry (Edgmont), 4, 51–59.Google Scholar
  15. Fortune, E. E., & Goodie, A. S. (2012). Cognitive distortions as a component and treatment focus of pathological gambling: A review. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 26, 298–310.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Gainsbury, S., Hing, N., & Suhonen, N. (2014). Professional help-seeking for gambling problems: Awareness, barriers and motivators for treatment. Journal of Gambling Studies, 30, 503–519.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Gonzales, A. A., Lyson, T. A., & Mauer, K. W. (2007). What does a casino mean to a tribe?: Assessing the impact of casino development on Indian reservations in Arizona and New Mexico. The Social Science Journal, 44, 405–419.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Gorondi, J. (2012). Hungary bans slot machines to stop ‘defenseless’ poor from gambling.
  19. Hawkins, E. H., Cummins, L. H., & Marlatt, G. A. (2004). Preventing substance abuse in American Indian and Alaska Native youth: Promising strategies for healthier communities. Psychological Bulletin, 130, 304–323.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Hettema, J., Steele, J., & Miller, W. R. (2005). Motivational interviewing. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 1, 91–111.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Hing, N., Russell, A. M., Gainsbury, S. M., & Nuske, E. (2015). The public stigma of problem gambling: Its nature and relative intensity compared to other health conditions. Journal of Gambling Studies, 31, 1–18.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Hsu, C. H. (2014). Legalized casino gaming in the United States: The economic and social impact. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  23. Hurh, W. M. (1998). The Korean Americans. Westport, CN: Greenwood Press.Google Scholar
  24. Kibria, N. (1993). The family tightrope: The changing lives of Vietnamese Americans. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Kim, W. (2007). Diversity among Southeast Asian ethnic groups: A study of mental health disorders among Cambodians, Laotians, Miens, and Vietnamese. Journal of Ethnic and Cultural Diversity in Social Work, 15, 83–100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kim, W. (2012). Acculturation and gambling in Asian Americans: When culture meets availability. International Gambling Studies, 12, 69–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Lamberton, A., & Oei, T. P. (1997). Problem gambling in adults: An overview. Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy, 4, 84–104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Larimer, M. E., Neighbors, C., Lostutter, T. W., Whiteside, U., Cronce, J. M., Kaysen, D., & Walker, D. D. (2012). Brief motivational feedback and cognitive behavioral interventions for prevention of disordered gambling: A randomized clinical trial. Addiction, 107, 1148–1158.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  29. Lesieur, H. R., & Blume, S. B. (1987). The South Oaks Gambling Screen (SOGS): A new instrument for the identification of pathological gamblers. American Journal of Psychiatry, 144, 1184–1188.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. Lesieur, H. R., Cross, J., Frank, M., Welch, M., White, C. M., Rubenstein, G., et al. (1991). Gambling and pathological gambling among university students. Addictive Behaviors, 16, 517–527.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Loo, J. M., Raylu, N., & Oei, T. P. S. (2008). Gambling among the Chinese: A comprehensive review. Clinical Psychology Review, 28, 1152–1166.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. Lum, C., Corliss, H. L., Mays, V. M., Cochran, S. D., & Lui, C. K. (2009). Differences in the drinking behaviors of Chinese, Filipino, Korean, and Vietnamese college students. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 70, 568–574.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  33. Martins, S. S., Storr, C. L., Ialongo, N. S., & Chilcoat, H. D. (2008). Gender differences in mental health characteristics and gambling among African American adolescent gamblers. American Journal on Addictions, 17, 126–134.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  34. McMillen, J. (1996). Gambling cultures: Studies in history and interpretation. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  35. Mecklin, C. J., & Donnelly, R. G. (2005). Powerball, expected value, and the law of (very) large numbers. Journal of Statistics Education, 13, 1–18.Google Scholar
  36. Miller, W. R., & Rollnick, S. (2002). Motivational interviewing: Preparing people for change (2nd ed.). New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  37. Min, P. G. (1998). Changes and conflicts: Korean immigrant families in New York. New York: Allyn and Bacon.Google Scholar
  38. Myerson, J., Green, L., Hanson, J. S., Holt, D. D., & Estle, S. J. (2003). Discounting delayed and probabilistic rewards: Processes and traits. Journal of Economic Psychology, 24, 619–635.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Oei, T. P., Lin, J., & Raylu, N. (2007). Validation of the Chinese version of the Gambling Related Cognitions Scale (GRCS-C). Journal of Gambling Studies, 23, 309–322.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  40. Park, S., Cho, M. J., Jeon, H. J., Lee, H. W., Bae, J. N., Park, J. I., et al. (2010). Prevalence, clinical correlations, comorbidities, and suicidal tendencies in pathological Korean gamblers: Results from the Korean Epidemiologic Catchment Area Study. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 45, 621–629.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  41. Patterson, I., Pegg, S., & Dobson-Patterson, R. (2000). Exploring the links between leisure boredom and alcohol use among youth in rural and urban areas of Australia. Journal of Park and Recreation Administration, 18, 53–75.Google Scholar
  42. Peacock, R. B., Day, P. A., & Peacock, T. D. (1999). Adolescent gambling on a great lakes Indian reservation. Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment, 2, 5–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Potenza, M. N., Steinberg, M. A., McLaughlin, S. D., Wu, R., Rounsaville, B. J., & O’Malley, S. S. (2014). Gender-related differences in the characteristics of problem gamblers using a gambling helpline. American Journal of Psychiatry, 158, 1500–1505.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Pyke, K. (2000). “The normal American family” as an interpretive structure of family life among grown children of Korean and Vietnamese immigrants. Journal of Marriage and Family, 62, 240–255.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Rash, C. J., & Petry, N. M. (2014). Psychological treatments for gambling disorder. Psychology Research and Behavior Management, 7, 285.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  46. Raylu, N., & Oei, T. P. (2002). Pathological gambling: A comprehensive review. Clinical Psychology Review, 22, 1009–1061.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  47. Raylu, N., & Oei, T. P. (2004). Role of culture in gambling and problem gambling. Clinical Psychology Review, 23, 1087–1114.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  48. Rinker, D. V., Rodriguez, L. M., Krieger, H., Tackett, J. L., & Neighbors, C. (2015). Racial and ethnic differences in problem gambling among college students. Journal of Gambling Studies, 31, 1–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Scribner, R. (1996). Paradox as paradigm—the health outcomes of Mexican Americans. American Journal of Public Health, 86, 303–305.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  50. Shaffer, H., Vander Bilt, J., & Hall, M. N. (1997). Estimating the prevalence of disordered gambling behavior in the United States and Canada: A meta-analysis. Boston: Harvard Medical School.Google Scholar
  51. Sinclair, H., Collins, P., Pretorius, A., Grant, J. E., & Stein, D. J. (2013). The effectiveness of a cognitive-behavioral intervention for pathological gambling: A country-wide study. Annals of Clinical Psychiatry, 25, 250–256.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  52. Steenbergh, T. A., Meyers, A. W., May, R. K., & Whelan, J. P. (2002). Development and validation of the Gamblers’ Beliefs Questionnaire. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 16, 143–149.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  53. Stinchfield, R. (2000). Gambling and correlates of gambling among Minnesota public school students. Journal of Gambling Studies, 16, 153–173.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  54. Stinchfield, R., Cassuto, N., Winters, K., & Latimer, W. (1997). Prevalence of gambling among Minnesota public school students in 1992 and 1995. Journal of Gambling Studies, 13, 25–48.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  55. Tang, C. S. K., Chua, Z., & Wu, A. (2011). Impulsivity, life stress, refusal efficacy, and problem gambling among Chinese: Testing the diathesis-stress-coping model. International Journal of Stress Management, 18, 263–283.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Taylor, P., Kochhar, R., Fry, R., Velasco, G., & Motel, S. (2011). Wealth gaps rise to record highs between Whites, Blacks, and Hispanics (Vol. 26). Washington, DC: Pew Research Center.Google Scholar
  57. Toneatto, T., & Ladoceur, R. (2003). Treatment of pathological gambling: A critical review of the literature. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 17, 284–292.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  58. Tripp, A. M. (2015). Comparative perspectives on concepts of gender, ethnicity, and race. Politics, Groups, and Identities, 4, 1–18.Google Scholar
  59. Volberg, R. A. (1994). The prevalence and demographics of pathological gamblers: Implications for public health. American Journal of Public Health, 84, 237–241.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  60. Volberg, R. A. (2002). The epidemiology of pathological gambling. Psychiatric Annals, 32, 171–180.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Wallisch, L. S. (1993). Gambling in Texas: 1992 Texas survey of adolescent gambling behavior. Austin, TX: Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse.Google Scholar
  62. Wang, C. S., Whitson, J. A., & Menon, T. (2012). Culture, control, and illusory pattern perception. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 3, 630–638.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Wardman, D., el-Guebaly, N., & Hodgins, D. (2001). Problem and pathological gambling in North American Aboriginal populations: A review of the empirical literature. Journal of Gambling Studies, 17, 81–100.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  64. Welte, J. W., Barnes, G. M., Wieczorek, W. F., Tidwell, M. C., & Parker, J. (2002). Gambling participation in the US-results from a national survey. Journal of Gambling Studies, 18, 313–337.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  65. Welte, J. W., Barnes, G. M., Wieczorek, W. F., Tidwell, M. C. O., & Parker, J. C. (2004). Risk factors for pathological gambling. Addictive Behaviors, 29, 323–335.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  66. Westermeyer, J., Canive, J., Garrard, J., Thuras, P., & Thompson, J. (2005). Lifetime prevalence of pathological gambling among American Indian and Hispanic American veterans. American Journal of Public Health, 95, 860–866.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  67. Wong, D. F. K., Chung, C. L. P., Wu, J., Tang, J., & Lau, P. (2014). A preliminary study of an integrated and culturally attuned cognitive behavioral group treatment for Chinese problem gamblers in Hong Kong. Journal of Gambling Studies, 31, 1–13.Google Scholar
  68. Wright, J. H., Basco, M. R., & Thase, M. E. (2006). Learning cognitive-behavior therapy: An illustrated guide. Arlington: American Psychiatric Pub.Google Scholar
  69. Yakovenko, I., Quigley, L., Hemmelgarn, B. R., Hodgins, D. C., & Ronksley, P. (2015). The efficacy of motivational interviewing for disordered gambling: Systematic review and meta-analysis. Addictive Behaviors, 43, 72–82.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  70. Zheng, W. Y., Walker, M., & Blaszczynski, A. (2010). Mahjong gambling in the Chinese-Australian community in Sydney: A prevalence study. Journal of Gambling Studies, 26, 441–454.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  71. Zitzow, D. (1996). Comparative study of problematic gambling behaviors between American Indian and non-Indian adolescents within and near a northern plains reservation. American Indian and Alaska Native Mental Health Research, 7, 14–26.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kevin Richard
    • 1
  • Timothy Baghurst
    • 1
  • J. Michael Faragher
    • 2
  • Erin Stotts
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Applied Health and Educational PsychologyOklahoma State UniversityStillwaterUSA
  2. 2.Morgridge College of EducationUniversity of DenverDenverUSA

Personalised recommendations