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There are women with gambling problems. Gambling addiction from gender perspective

Women with gambling addiction problems have always existed. However, even today it is thought that gambling is a “male issue”. Problem gambling is often described as a 'hidden addiction', this can be even more forceful for women. Online gambling is available all day, every day. This makes it fit perfectly into our lifestyle. The 24/7 availability makes it adapt perfectly to our busy lives, managing to blend in perfectly, becoming almost imperceptible to the rest and therefore easier to hide from our loved ones. Regarding the distribution by gender, in the general adult population traditionally there is a prevalence of pathological gambling with a ratio of approximately 2:1 between men and women. Other studies estimated that the ratio between adolescent boys and girls with a serious gambling problem would have a ratio of 3:1. However, other studies point out that as a consequence of new forms of gambling such as online gambling, the prevalence of pathological gambling is constantly increasing, so these data may not correspond to the current proportion of female gamblers. In fact, more recent data indicates that percentages of 40% of female players have been found compared to 60% of men. Currently, the game is becoming a common activity in women, and it is being found that they could be playing with the same frequency as men. Therefore, it is important to emphasize that the real number of women with a gambling problem could be much higher, and the figures that we currently have could underestimate the impact of gambling. However, although there is some uncertainty about the percentage of female gamblers, they constitute a considerable percentage of people with this problem. In recent years, different studies have been carried out with a gender perspective. Most of the studies have focused on knowing the reasons for gambling and the choice of gambling that women make, as well as on the development of pathological gambling in them. These studies have found that men traditionally tend to choose games that require greater skill and reasoning, such as cards or sports betting, while women prefer less strategic games, such as bingo, slot machines or the lottery. The scientific community also finds differences regarding the reasons for gambling, while men show greater impulsiveness and search for sensations, women show a greater tendency to play as an escape route. Along the same lines, other studies indicate that women use gambling as an escape mechanism, with the aim of escaping from stressful life circumstances and in order to alleviate depressive and anxious symptoms and feelings of loneliness. In general, women with pathological gambling or problem gambling seem to show a greater number of psychosocial problems than men, as well as being widowed or divorced, victims of intimate partner violence, bereavement or abuse, emotional or physical. As a consequence, women present greater comorbidity than men. These have a greater tendency to present anxiety and depressive disorders with comorbidities, while men show higher rates of comorbidity with alcohol or other substance abuse than women, however women present a greater use of tranquilizers. Regarding the progression of gambling, women start gambling later than men, but women develop addiction more quickly and have greater difficulty accessing treatment. For all these reasons, there is a need to carry out more studies on gambling and women with the aim of breaking the existing taboos on women and gambling, so that they can feel more comfortable asking for help and have access to the best possible treatment and that it is tailored to their individual needs.


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Cristina Varela Galan
Cristina Varela Galan
1 December 2022 13:7