GambleAware has published the recommendations of its ‘Stigma Scoping Study’ – which has uncovered evidence of stigma and discrimination on gambling harm and addiction through research studies.
Scoping studies are recognised as the highest discipline of synthesizing research across separate reports, literature and investigative design methods.
The authorised report was undertaken by stigmatisation experts Dr Anne Stangl, Triantafyllos Pliakas, and Mariana Siapka – who analysed evidence from ‘54 individual studies and nine review papers across 19 countries’.
“The paper provides key recommendations for further research, service provision, policy, and media campaigns to help reduce stigma and discrimination experienced by people who gamble.” – GambleAware outlined as its objective.
The study recommends that gambling harm researchers and concerned stakeholders use an inclusive ‘person-first language’ when undertaking studies. Of importance, research conducted must reflect that “gambling disorder is a mental disorder, not a label or identity.”
GambleAware underlined the appropriate use of terminologies for studies in which researchers have been advised to use ‘person with a gambling disorder’ or ‘person who struggles with gambling’ instead of ‘gambling addict’ or ‘problem gambler’.
The use of person-orientated definitions will reduce the risk of negative associations or risk of stigma by participants engaging with researchers.
GambleAware advised that “stigmatising terms should not be used about people who experience gambling harms. For example, the term ‘addict’ is stigmatising because it reduces a person down to their disorder.”
The report found that gambling stigmas reflect wider health study concerns found in fields of mental health, drug, and alcohol abuse.
As the lead provider of RET grants, GambleAware recommends that researchers involve people with lived experience of gambling harms in training and designing their studies, to avoid stigma and discrimination conflicts.
Zoë Osmond, CEO, GambleAware said: “Over the coming months and years, a major part of our work will be focused on reducing stigma and the barriers people face when accessing the support they need.
“We welcome the study findings and will use the recommendations to strengthen our work, including our public health campaigns to raise awareness of gambling harms and encourage people to get help.”