What Coping Strategies Really Help? Reports From the Spouses of Gamblers
Intimate partners and other family members of the nearly 500,000 Ohio residents with potential or current gambling problems undergo significant stress, such as disrupted family life, financial trouble, and increased risk for related problems such as family violence. With many gambling problems continuing for years, family members are faced with the task of coping with their loved one’s gambling problem over time. Although certain types of coping strategies are considered to be healthier than others, not enough is known about how loved ones of people with gambling problems actually cope with the situation. Moreover, little is known about which coping strategies family members consider to be most useful. This presentation will describe results of a study of female intimate partners of people with gambling problems. Participants rated their frequency of use for 30 coping strategies, as well as how helpful they considered each strategy to be. Though there was much variation in how often participants used different coping strategies, frequency of use didn’t necessarily correspond with participants’ ratings of helpfulness of the coping strategies. The presentation will highlight strategies with strong correlations between use & helpfulness, and discuss potential explanations for both high and low correlations. Finally, the presentation will end with implications of these findings for effective work with family members of people with problem gambling.