What Contributes to Public Stigma Towards Problem Gambling? A Comparative Analysis of University Students in Australia, Canada, Croatia and Israel

Paul Delfabbro*, Dora Dodig Hundric, Neven Ricijas, Jeffrey L. Derevensky, Belle Gavriel-Fried

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Stigma refers to the attribution of negative sentiments towards a particular entity, object or individual. Stigma can be public, perceived, or self-referential and can have negative consequences for individuals, including losses of self-esteem, self-efficacy, social isolation and a reluctance to seek help. Problem gambling is known to be a stigmatized activity, but less is known about what factors are associated with this perception and how it might vary in different countries. The current study examines the relationship between perceived stigma towards problem gamblers and gambling attitudes. perceptions of gambling regulations, gambling involvement, perceived accessibility to gambling, and exposure to people with gambling problems. The sample comprised 1787 university students aged 18–30 years from four countries: Australia, Canada, Croatia and Israel. The results indicated that greater perceived stigma was associated with more negative gambling attitudes, less engagement with gambling, and lower perceived social accessibility (the perception that others approve of the activity). Respondents from Croatia, the country with a newer gambling market, reported the most stigma towards problem gamblers as compared with Australia and Canada where gambling is longer established. The findings appear consistent with exposure–adaptation theory, in which tolerance towards people with problem gambling can develop over time in line with greater social acceptance or familiarity with the activity and its consequences. It is suggested that community campaigns and educational programs draw a distinction between attitudes towards gambling in general and those who are negatively affected by the activity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1127-1141
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Gambling Studies
Volume38
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2022

Keywords

  • Attitudes towards gambling
  • Perceived stigma
  • Problem gambling
  • Social accessibility of gambling

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