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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(9), 854; doi:10.3390/ijerph13090854

Gambling in the Landscape of Adversity in Youth: Reflections from Men Who Live with Poverty and Homelessness

1
Centre for Urban Health Solutions, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, St. Michael’s Hospital, 30 Bond St., Toronto, ON M5B 1W8, Canada
2
Department of Health, Aging, and Society, McMaster University, 1280 Main St. W., Hamilton, ON L8S 4M4, Canada
3
Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Toronto, 144 College St., Toronto, ON M5S 3M2, Canada
4
Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, 2075 Bayview Avenue, Toronto, ON M4N 3M5, Canada
5
Good Shepherd Ministries, 412 Queen St E., Toronto, ON M5A 1T3, Canada
6
Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, 155 College St, Toronto, ON M5T 3M7, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Paul B. Tchounwou
Received: 24 May 2016 / Revised: 29 July 2016 / Accepted: 17 August 2016 / Published: 31 August 2016
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [301 KB, uploaded 31 August 2016]

Abstract

Most of the research on gambling behaviour among youth has been quantitative and focused on measuring prevalence. As a result, little is known about the contextual experiences of youth gambling, particularly among those most vulnerable. In this paper, we explore the previous experiences of youth gambling in a sample of adult men experiencing housing instability and problem gambling. We present findings from a qualitative study on problem gambling and housing instability conducted in Toronto, Canada. Thirty men with histories of problem or pathological gambling and housing instability or homelessness were interviewed. Two thirds of these men reported that they began gambling in youth. Five representative cases were selected and the main themes discussed. We found that gambling began in early life while the men, as youth, were also experiencing adversity (e.g., physical, emotional and/or sexual abuse, neglect, housing instability, homelessness, substance addiction and poverty). Men reported they had access to gambling activity through their family and wider networks of school, community and the streets. Gambling provided a way to gain acceptance, escape from emotional pain, and/or earn money. For these men problematic gambling behaviour that began in youth, continued into adulthood. View Full-Text
Keywords: youth; problem gambling; complex needs; trauma; qualitative; homelessness; case study youth; problem gambling; complex needs; trauma; qualitative; homelessness; case study
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Hamilton-Wright, S.; Woodhall-Melnik, J.; Guilcher, S.J.T.; Schuler, A.; Wendaferew, A.; Hwang, S.W.; Matheson, F.I. Gambling in the Landscape of Adversity in Youth: Reflections from Men Who Live with Poverty and Homelessness. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13, 854.

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