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Risk and protective factors for the development of gambling-related harms and problems among Australian sexual minority men

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journal contribution
posted on 02.08.2021, 03:11 by Rachel Bush, Alex MT Russell, Petra K Staiger, Andrea WalingAndrea Waling, Nicki A Dowling
Abstract Background Sexual minority men (SMM) often experience stressful social environments dominated by stigma and discrimination. SMM are typically more likely than heterosexual men to engage in certain risky behaviours such as problem gambling. This study aimed to compare gambling behaviour among SMM and examine potential risk factors (erroneous gambling cognitions, gambling outcome expectancies, hazardous alcohol use, impulsivity, and psychological distress; as well as perceived stigma and discrimination for the SMM participants) and potential protective factors (resilience, social support, and community connectedness) for problem gambling severity and gambling-related harms among SMM living in Australia. Methods An online survey, with an over-representation of SMM participants and problem, moderate-risk, and low-risk gamblers, was completed by 101 SMM (mean age = 28.5) and 207 heterosexual men (mean age = 26.4). Results SMM were found to have significantly lower levels of problem gambling severity compared with heterosexual men, and report significantly lower gambling participation, frequencies and expenditure on any gambling activity, casino table games, horse racing/greyhound betting, sports betting, and keno. However, in the SMM group, 38.3% were classified in the problem gambling category of the Problem Gambling Severity Index and 27.6% were classified in the moderate-risk gambling category. There were no significant differences between groups in gambling-related harms. Multiple regression analyses revealed that problem gambling severity and related harms were independently predicted by higher levels of impulsivity and erroneous gambling cognitions for both groups. Conclusions Lower frequency of gambling behaviours among SMM and similar risk factors predicting problem gambling severity/harms for both groups suggests that problem gambling is not pronounced among SMM. This study adds new evidence to the gambling literature which can be used as comparative benchmarks for future research.


This research was supported by a grant from the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation. The funder had no role in designing the study, nor on the analysis of the data.


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