For Worse, for Poorer and in Ill Health: How Women Experience, Understand and Respond to a Partner’s Gambling Problems

  • Janet Patford


Gambling is now big business in Australia and public expenditure on gambling is high. Some individuals gamble to excess with adverse consequences for themselves and their partner. The present study targeted women who had concerns about a current or previous partner’s gambling and employed a qualitative methodology to explore their experiences, understandings and responses. Various recruitment strategies were used to avoid an excessive reliance on a clinical sample and to attract participants in different walks of life. The final sample comprised twenty-three women, eleven of whom continued to maintain a marital or de facto relationship with the gambler. Data were gathered by means of in-depth interviews and subjected to thematic analysis. Findings from the study indicate that women are likely to be the victims and enablers of their partner’s gambling and may also provide informal help and care. Implications for community education programs, formal services and Australian law are discussed.


Problem gambling Marital and/or de facto partners Coping strategies Separation 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Tasmania of LauncestonLauncestonAustralia

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