Social Conditioning and Gambling


Many people with a gambling problem question the influence of social factors, specifically the role of their upbringing and family dynamics, on their gambling. They often say that they were raised in a ‘family of gambling’ or that ‘gambling is in their blood’; these statements reveal the influence of social conditioning on problem gambling.

Although many other factors contribute to the development of problem gambling, social conditioning appears to play an important role in this development for some people.

The influence of a family’s level of gambling or opinions of gambling may increase a person’s vulnerability to gambling-related harm. This may be through a person’s increased access to gambling, through family events which involve card games or that are held at gaming venues. Familial opinions of gambling, including the view that gambling is a positive and fun activity or a way of making money quickly may shape an individual’s perceptions of gambling.

Gambling treatment may provide individuals with an informed understanding of gambling and the consequences of gambling. This is one of the many benefits of seeking treatment for problem gambling, as people are exposed to new ideas and ways of understanding gambling, which they have never previously encountered. These new beliefs may provide a greater opportunity for behavioural change allowing people with suffering from gambling-related harm to escape the ‘trap’ their gambling has become and create their own understanding of gambling, independent of the social factors which may have increased their vulnerability to gambling since childhood.

Free, confidential, expert support and treatment is available by calling Gambling Help on 1800 858 858. For more information on the services that Gambling Help offer, visit the website.

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