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J Gambl Stud. 2004 Fall;20(3):283-99.

Not the same: a comparison of female and male clients seeking treatment from problem gambling counselling services.

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  • 1School of Social Work, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria 3010, Australia.


Previous studies of problem gamblers portray this group as being almost exclusively male. However, this study demonstrates that females comprised 46% of the population ( n = 1,520) of persons who sought assistance due to concerns about their gambling from the publicly-funded BreakEven counselling services in the state of Victoria, Australia, in one 12-month period. This suggests that the model of service delivery which is community based counselling on a non-residential basis may be better able to attract female clients than treatment centres where males predominate such as veterans centres. A comparative analysis of the social and demographic characteristics of female and male gamblers within the study population was undertaken. As with previous studies, we have found significant differences between males and females who have sought help for problems associated with their gambling. Gender differences revealed in this study include females being far more likely to use electronic gaming machines (91.1% vs. 61.4%), older (39.6 years vs. 36.1 years), more likely to be born in Australia (79.4% vs. 74.7%), to be married (42.8% vs. 30.2%), living with family (78.9% vs. 61.5%) and to have dependent children (48.4% vs. 35.7%), than males who present at these services. Female gamblers (A$7,342) reported average gambling debts of less than half of that owed by males (A$19,091). These gender differences have implications for the development and conduct of problem gambling counselling services as it cannot be assumed that models of service which have demonstrated effectiveness with males will be similarly effective with females.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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