"Double trouble": The lived experience of problem and pathological gambling in later life


  • Gary Nixon
  • Jason Solowoniuk
  • Brad Hagen
  • Robert J. Williams University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada. E-mail: <email xlink:href="mailto:gary.nixon@uleth.ca">gary.nixon@uleth.ca</email>




Objective: The objective of this phenomenological qualitative study was to explore the lived experience of older adults who engage in problem or pathological gambling.

Method and sample: Older adults who gambled were recruited and were administered two gambling screens to ensure that they met the criteria for problem or pathological gambling. Eleven problem-pathological gamblers were identified and contributed their narratives via in-depth interviews about their experiences of problem or pathological gambling.

Results: Several themes arising from the interviews were similar to patterns identified with younger gamblers, yet distinct patterns emerged. Some older gamblers gamble as an opportunity to break away and escape from traditional roles and go to extreme measures to continue their gambling while hiding it from significant others.

Conclusion: Despite research suggesting few seniors encounter problems with gambling, this qualitative study suggests that gambling can have devastating consequences. Older adults may have lessened ability and time to recover from these consequences or from hitting bottom. Key words: gambling, narrative, older adults, problem-pathological gambling, phenomenology, aged






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