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Exploring the Gray Areas: Senior Gamblers' Perceptions Of What Is and What Isn't Gambling

Connie Tira, Alun Conrad Jackson


The basis of any health promotion or harm minimization initiative is effective engagement of the target audience. However, because “gambling” can be interpreted in a variety of ways, service providers, such as community educators and clinical practitioners, cannot always assume a shared understanding of the meaning of gambling with their clients. This paper aims to help reduce such discrepancies by highlighting conditions in which gambling is usually viewed as gambling by those engaged in the behavior and by describing scenarios that may be more ambiguous. Such awareness can help service providers to maximize engagement efforts while minimizing the stigma typically associated with gambling. Findings are based on secondary analyses of a study that examined pathways leading to late-life problematic gambling by using a grounded theory method. The results suggest that rational decision making may be compromised in otherwise nonvulnerable individuals.


gambling; public health; engagement; education; awareness; screening

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