The interactive effects of avoidance coping and dysphoric mood on problem gambling for female and male gamblers


  • Anna Thomas School of Mathematical Sciences, Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia. Email: <italic><email xlink:href=""></email></italic>
  • Susan Moore Institute of Social Research, Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia



women, gambling, avoidance, coping, depression, anxiety, loneliness, boredom


A study involving 83 female and 72 male gamblers tested the direct and interactional effects of avoidance coping and five dysphoric moods on problem gambling via regression analysis. Important differences were found between female and male gamblers. For female gamblers, loneliness, boredom, anxiety, depression and avoidance coping were all positively related to problem gambling. Additionally, interactions between these mood states and avoidance coping significantly predicted problem gambling; female gamblers with high dysphoria and high avoidance coping showed substantially more symptoms of problem gambling than those scoring high on only one variable. In contrast, loneliness and stress were the only significant predictors of problem gambling for males - neither avoidance coping nor any of the interactional relationships between mood and coping predicted problem gambling. These results support previous qualitative studies and suggest that female problem gamblers gamble as an escape from dysphoric moods. Even though male problem gamblers expressed more negative affect than male non-problem gamblers, there was no evidence to suggest that negative mood was a precursor rather than an outcome of gambling behaviour.






Original Article