Current Addiction Reports

, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp 254–267

An Update on Gender Differences in the Characteristics Associated with Problem Gambling: a Systematic Review

  • Stephanie S. Merkouris
  • Anna C. Thomas
  • Kerrie A. Shandley
  • Simone N. Rodda
  • Erin Oldenhof
  • Nicki A. Dowling
Gambling (J Derevensky, Section Editor)

DOI: 10.1007/s40429-016-0106-y

Cite this article as:
Merkouris, S.S., Thomas, A.C., Shandley, K.A. et al. Curr Addict Rep (2016) 3: 254. doi:10.1007/s40429-016-0106-y
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Gambling


Purpose of Review

Identifying and understanding gender differences associated with the development, maintenance and consequences of problem gambling has important implications for improving prevention and treatment interventions. The current paper systematically reviews the most recent evidence (2012–2015) examining gender differences in the prevalence of problem gambling and the characteristics associated with problem gambling.

Recent Findings

Twenty-nine articles, including treatment-seeking and community representative adult and adolescent samples, were included. Males were typically more likely than females to be either at-risk or problem gamblers, although this finding may be an artefact of other characteristics, such as preferred gambling activity. There was consistent evidence that male problem gambling was associated with impulsivity, substance and alcohol use, while female problem gambling was associated with unemployment, psychological distress and childhood abuse.


The majority of findings, however, were mixed or limited by the small number of studies, highlighting the need for further gender-sensitive research to improve prevention and intervention approaches.


Problem gambling Systematic review Gender Sex Female Male 

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephanie S. Merkouris
    • 1
  • Anna C. Thomas
    • 2
    • 3
  • Kerrie A. Shandley
    • 1
  • Simone N. Rodda
    • 4
    • 5
    • 6
  • Erin Oldenhof
    • 1
    • 7
  • Nicki A. Dowling
    • 1
    • 8
    • 9
  1. 1.School of PsychologyDeakin UniversityGeelongAustralia
  2. 2.Australian Gambling Research CentreAustralian Institute of Family StudiesMelbourneAustralia
  3. 3.Swinburne University of TechnologyHawthornAustralia
  4. 4.Deakin UniversityGeelongAustralia
  5. 5.School of Public Health and Psychosocial StudiesAUT UniversityAucklandNew Zealand
  6. 6.Turning Point, Eastern HealthFitzroyAustralia
  7. 7.School of Psychological SciencesMonash University, AustraliaBurwoodAustralia
  8. 8.Melbourne Graduate School of EducationUniversity of MelbourneParkvilleAustralia
  9. 9.Centre for Gambling ResearchThe Australian National UniversityCanberraAustralia

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