Powerless yet powerful: The duality of everyday life of partners of persons with gambling problems
Peer reviewed, Journal article
MetadataShow full item record
Original versionJournal of Gambling Issues. 2019, 42 85-106. 10.4309/jgi.2019.42.5
This study explores how partners of persons with gambling problems experience the family’s everyday life, focusing on family relations and parenting. Problem gambling creates a serious impact on household finances, social life and health, emotional and relational issues. Between 6 and 10 persons are directly affected by a person’s gambling problems. Despite this, research exploring how daily life and relations in the family is affected is scarce. A qualitative method was used to acquire a deeper understanding of partners’ experiences of everyday life, relations and parenting. In-depth interviews were carried out with nine female partners of problem gamblers. All nine women had been responsible for minor children. A thematic analysis was used to systemize the participants’ experiences. The results determined how living with a partner with a gambling problem is a lonely project. Partners of problem gamblers take on a lot of responsibility for daily life activities, household finances and parenting but experience little support from their partner. A general lack of knowledge and recognition of gambling as a problem, increases the loneliness, shame and burden. Despite gambling having a tremendous impact on daily life and relations, families receive little support. Taking over responsibility and becoming the one in charge, can be understood as ways of reclaiming dignity and gaining power albeit within limits. This duality needs to be considered when providing support to families.