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Self-Management Strategies for Problem Gambling in the Context of Poverty and Homelessness
Problem gambling and gambling disorder are serious public health issues that disproportionately affect persons experiencing poverty, homelessness, and multimorbidity. Several barriers to service access contribute to low rates of formal treatment-seeking for problem gambling compared with treatments for other addictions. Given these challenges to treatment and care, self-management may be a viable alternative or complement to formal problem gambling interventions. In this study, we described problem gambling self-management strategies among persons experiencing poverty and homelessness. We conducted semi-structured interviews with 19 adults experiencing problem gambling and poverty/homelessness, and employed qualitative content analysis to code and analyze the data thematically. We identified five types of self-management strategies: (1) seeking information on problem gambling, (2) talking about gambling problems, (3) limiting money spent on gambling, (4) avoiding gambling providers, and (5) engaging in alternative activities. Although these strategies are consistent with previous research, the social, financial, housing, and health challenges of persons experiencing poverty and homelessness shaped their self-management experiences and approaches in distinct ways. Approaches to problem gambling treatment should attend to the broader context in which persons experience and attempt to self-manage problem gambling.