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Publication summary. View publication as a single page. These phases are visualised in Figure 1, which displays the typical course for the effect of gambling problems on intimate relationships. Figure 1: Typical course for the effect of gambling problems on intimate relationships. I've lost two relationships to it, lost three children, and lost the house to it My children have gone without, there are unpaid debts, we never had the money to go away.

Source: Dowling, Suomi et al. It has changed the way I communicate with my two children, son 10 years old and daughter 16 years old. I'm less patient with them or I cut myself off from them after a gambling episode. Then, I isolate myself and lock myself in my bedroom.

There is now consistent international evidence that gambling problems are associated with intimate partner violence IPV and family violence more broadly Dowling et al. The relationships are complex; however, people with gambling problems are more likely than people without gambling problems to be victims and perpetrators of IPV. The World Health Organization defines IPV as any behaviour within an intimate relationship that causes physical, psychological or sexual harm to those in that relationship.

This can include acts of physical violence, sexual violence, emotional psychological abuse and controlling behaviours. According to a systematic review of the available research conducted internationally Dowling et al.

Although most of the evidence relates to intimate relationships, there is some evidence that the victimisation and perpetration of violence extends to children and other members of the broader family Dowling, Jackson, et al. In these studies, parents, current partners and former partners were both the most common perpetrators and victims of the family violence.

However, results from studies involving family members other than partners must be interpreted with caution. Only a few studies are available with large variability in reported prevalence estimates. In addition, many studies are not representative of the general population, include only small numbers of problem gamblers, use groups that may experience multiple problems in addition to gambling-related issues, and use different definitions of violence.

Further research is required to provide information about the relationship between problem gambling and violence that extends into the family beyond intimate partners. The exact nature of the relationship between problem gambling and family violence is yet to be determined. Preliminary findings from family members in an Australian study suggest that gambling problems precede both victimisation and perpetration of family violence Suomi et al.

Gambling-related stressors - such as financial losses, mistrust and poor communication - can lead to chronic stress, family conflict and the perpetration of violence by family members against the gambler. Gambling losses and other problems can also lead to the perpetration of violence by people with gambling problems against family members as a result of stress, anger and financial crisis within the home. These explanations imply that the stress and strain of living with a problem gambling family member results in a heightened risk of family violence.

However, it must be noted that a commonly held view is that some people gamble as a mechanism to cope with being a victim of family violence.

Much more research is needed to increase our understanding of the complex relationship between gambling problems and family violence. Regardless of whether gambling problems or family violence comes first, the findings of the systematic review suggest that several factors are implicated in the relationship between gambling problems and IPV Dowling et al. Less than full employment and anger problems seem to exacerbate the relationship between gambling problems and being a victim of IPV, while younger age, less than full employment, anger problems, impulsivity, and alcohol and drug use seem to exacerbate the relationship between gambling problems and perpetrating IPV.

These findings highlight the need for public health and treatment services to routinely screen and assess for a range of issues, including gambling problems, family violence, alcohol and drug use problems and mental health issues, and provide treatments designed to manage this cluster of conditions.

While emotional difficulties, physical complaints and behavioural difficulties are common, they can be experienced and expressed quite differently, as seen in Box 2. It's stressed [my family], they are trying to help me financially … so I've put a lot of pressure on them. They are worried and concerned about my health and mental health, and what has caused my gambling. The children of problem gambling parents are also at risk of developing gambling problems themselves. People with problem gambling fathers were 11 to 14 times more likely to have gambling problems and people with problem gambling mothers were 7 to 11 times more likely to have gambling problems.

Box 3 provides a summary of the main risk and protective factors related to the intergenerational transmission of gambling problems. I used to put a bet on for them but my wife asked me to stop - when I grew up it was the normal thing to do. Source: Dowling et al. One final line of evidence relating to the impacts of gambling problems on families comes from family members who access gambling counselling services. Although help-seekers were most often intimate partners, there were few differences in the profile of impacts between family members i.

Figure 2: Impacts reported by different family members. An indication of more specific family impacts is provided by a study exploring the family impacts of gambling problems from the perspective of gamblers accessing Australian face-to-face gambling counselling services Dowling, Suomi et al. My gambling financially ruined everything we had worked hard for. The lying and stealing has created trust issues for my family.

Despite these findings, there remains a dearth of information about how gambling problems impact on the health and wellbeing of family members. Further research that explores how different family members are affected and the factors that influence adverse effects is clearly required.

Moreover, because it is likely that problem gamblers under-report family impacts Dowling, Suomi et al. Google Tag Manager. Contents What are the impacts of gambling problems on families? How do family members cope with gambling problems? What are the assessment and therapy options for family members? Summary Next steps Recommended reading References. Publication summary View publication as a single page.

What are the impacts of gambling problems on families? Gambling problems affect the functioning of family and intimate relationships. Gambling problems affect intimate partners, as well as other family members including children, parents, siblings and grandparents. Impaired family relationships, emotional problems and financial difficulties are some of the most common impacts on family members of people with gambling problems. There is consistent evidence of an association between gambling problems and family violence.

The children of problem gambling parents are at a much higher risk of developing gambling problems than the children of non-problem gambling parents. What are the effects on intimate relationships? Source: Kalischuk et. Box 3: Risk and protective factors for the intergenerational transmission of gambling problems Risk factors: gambling at a young age; parental drug and mental health problems; personal drug use; gambling to reduce negative emotions or increase positive emotions; gambling to socialise; expecting gambling will lead to positive outcomes e.

Protective factors: being female; having higher social resources and networks; being born in Australia; having more siblings; expecting gambling will lead to negative outcomes e. Previous page in publication Next page in publication. AGRC social media.

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