Transcript for the video: Nerilee Hing on the stigma of problem gambling

[Professor Nerilee Hing: Southern Cross University]

Nerilee Hing: This particular project we were looking at the causes and consequences and characteristics of stigma around problem gambling.

So it's been the first in-depth look at public stigma around problem gambling. So what are the attitudes in the community to problem gambling, what are the stereotypes associated with problem gambling? What are the attitudes, is there any discrimination against people with gambling problems? So that was one side of the picture that we looked at.

The other side of the picture we looked at were the experiences of people with gambling problems themselves in terms of their own self-stigma and stigmatising beliefs and how that had impacted on particularly their help-seeking behaviour and recovery from problem gambling. 

What are the key findings?

Well I have to say it's a very big study and there are a lot of results, but I guess the big ticket items is first of all public stigma is alive and well in association with problem gambling. It's a condition that the public associates numerous negative stereotypes with in terms of people with gambling problems must be irresponsible and impulsive and greedy and stupid and a whole range of negative views.

There are some very unhelpful attitudes to problem gambling in the community in terms of I guess devaluing people with gambling problems. Certainly misunderstandings around – while there is recognition that problem gambling is an addiction – what came through very strongly in the research was that the public does not have a very good understanding of what addiction means in terms of how difficult it is for people to try to address their problem.

In terms of people experiencing gambling problems again their self-stigma is alive and well and very debilitating to them in terms of their self-esteem, in terms of their self-efficacy and in terms of their help-seeking and recovery.

One of the results that came through that I think is particularly useful is that people who had less contact with problem gambling were much more stigmatising that those who hadn't. So in terms of going forwards for stigma reduction strategies, an obvious strategy is to try and increase community knowledge and understanding and contact with problem gambling among community members. That change in knowledge and attitudes should then lead to changes in behaviour as well, which would be helpful.

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