All in the Family: Help-Seeking by Significant Others of Problem Gamblers

  • Nerilee Hing
  • Margaret Tiyce
  • Louise Holdsworth
  • Elaine Nuske


Problem gambling can significantly affect the lives of concerned significant others (CSOs) of problem gamblers, especially family members, but little is known about their help-seeking activities and experiences. This paper explores help-seeking by CSOs of problem gamblers and their related motivators and barriers. A telephone interview was administered to 48 CSOs who called an Australian gambling helpline seeking assistance for themselves and/or a person with gambling problems. Key motivators for seeking help (through helplines, non-professional sources, and self-help measures) were concerns the gambling might become a major problem, negative emotions, problems maintaining normal daily activities, concerns for dependents’ welfare, and health concerns. Barriers included wanting to solve the problem on their own, and shame. Findings highlight the need to better equip CSOs to assist both the person with gambling problems towards treatment and recovery and to protect their own physical, emotional, social and financial wellbeing.


Family Significant others Problem gambling Help-seeking 



Financial assistance for this research was received from Gambling Research Australia. The authors would also like to thank the research participants and all the Gambling Helplines in Australia for assistance with recruiting them.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nerilee Hing
    • 1
  • Margaret Tiyce
    • 1
  • Louise Holdsworth
    • 1
  • Elaine Nuske
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Gambling Education and Research, School of Tourism and Hospitality ManagementSouthern Cross UniversityLismoreAustralia

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