“When I’m not angry I am anxious”: The lived experiences of individuals in a relationship with a non-help-seeking problem gambler—A hermeneutic phenomenological study

Ben J. Riley, Sharon J. Lawn, Beth R. Crisp, Malcolm W. Battersby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Although the negative effects of problem gambling (PG) are well-documented in respect of gamblers themselves, less research has focused on the experiences of their partners, particularly in situations where the gambler is not help-seeking. Data were drawn from 15 in-depth interviews of partners living with a non-help-seeking problem gambler. Through a hermeneutical-phenomenological analysis, nine central themes emerged: social activity, realization, role conflict, stigma, denial, health issues, disconnectedness, hypervigilance, and security. Findings indicated that living with a non-help-seeking PG partner was characterized by chronic worry, exhaustion, relationship conflict, and an overwhelming sense of isolation. Partners found it exceedingly difficult to reliably detect their partners’ gambling behavior, resulting in chronic hypervigilance, and were reluctant to seek help due to stigma. There is a need for programs that provide both guidance for partners to help protect their well-being and evidence-based strategies to help motivate non-help-seeking problem gamblers to acknowledge their problem and seek help.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2529-2550
Number of pages22
JournalJOURNAL OF SOCIAL AND PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS
Volume37
Issue number8-9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2020

Keywords

  • Heideggerian phenomenology
  • hermeneutics
  • in-depth interviews
  • lived experience
  • partners
  • problem gambling
  • qualitative methods

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