Current Addiction Reports

, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp 254–267 | Cite as

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)
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 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Stephanie Merkouris, Kerrie Shandley, Simone Rodda, Erin Oldenhof, and Nicki Dowling declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Anna Thomas reports other financial support from Australian Commonwealth Government, during the conduct of the study; personal fees from Gambling Research Australia, personal fees from Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation, and non-financial support from Ontario Problem Gambling Research Centre, outside the submitted work.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with animal subjects performed by any of the authors. With regard to the authors’ research cited in this paper, all procedures were followed in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2000 and 2008.


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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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