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Stereotypes of problem gambling

Jenny Horch, David Hodgins


Introduction: Research supports the notion that problem gambling is stigmatized, yet little is known about stereotypes, a key variable in the stigmatization process. Method: University students (41 male, 110 female) generated words when presented with one of three labels: gambler, problem gambler, and gambling addict. An adjective checklist permitted participants to select words characteristic of problem gamblers and was administered to additional student (N=790) and problem gambling samples (N=74). Results: Content and frequency analyses revealed that problem gamblers were considered compulsive, impulsive, desperate, irresponsible, risk-taking, depressed, greedy, irrational, antisocial, and aggressive. Problem gambling and gambling addict labels generated more words regarding negative gambling consequences. Gambler resulted in more miscellaneous words (e.g., casino, money). Conclusions: Stereotype content was not entirely inaccurate and the label gambler was not neutral. Future research could examine which aspect of stereotype content invites stigmatization.

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