Journal of Gambling Studies

, Volume 34, Issue 4, pp 1281–1291 | Cite as

Public Stigma and the Label of Gambling Disorder: Does it Make a Difference?

  • Billy A. PalmerEmail author
  • Eric J. Richardson
  • Martin Heesacker
  • M. Kristina DePue
Original Paper


This study examined public gambling stigma by testing stigmatization of those diagnosed with a gambling disorder, as specified by the DSM-5 (American Psychiatric Association in Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, 2013. The researchers hypothesized that the magnitude of stigmatization would fall in this order, from most stigmatized to least: (a) the target labelled and described in ways consistent with moderate gambling disorder (b) the target described in ways consistent with moderate gambling disorder, (c) the target described in ways consistent with recreational gambling, (d) and control. Participants were randomly presented with one of the four descriptions, then completed measures of cognitive, affective, and behavioral reactions. Results showed that those labelled with gambling disorder evoked slightly more social distance than those meeting criteria for the disorder with no label. However, both groups meeting criteria were more stigmatized than those who gamble without meeting criteria and those who do not gamble. Those described who gamble without meeting criteria were no more stigmatized than those who do not gamble, giving a more total picture of what gambling stigma is by indicating what it is not. Findings and implications are discussed.


Gambling disorder Public stigma Mental illness stigma Addictive disorder 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

Billy Palmer declares that he has no conflict of interest. Eric Richardson declares that he has no conflict of interest. Martin Heesacker declares that he has no conflict of interest. M. Kristina DePue declares that she has no conflict of interest.

Ethics Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the Institutional Review Board and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.UF Department of PsychologyUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA
  2. 2.UF College of EducationUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA

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