NCRG Conference on Gambling and Addiction

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Women and Gambling: Does Gender Make a Difference?

Past gambling research suggests that disordered gambling is more prevalent among men than among women. Recent studies have observed that women are now as likely to have gambled within the past year as men. We are now seeing new investigations focused on how gender differences might influence the development and treatment of the disorder. Do women with gambling problems and other addictive disorders have a unique experience compared to men?

In the plenary session Women and Gambling: Does Gender Make a Difference?, Drs. Debi LaPlante and Sharon Wilsnack will discuss these questions using the findings about women and addiction they each have found in their own research.

Dr. Wilsnack will provide the historical context for understanding women and addiction. Her groundbreaking research has focused primarily on alcohol use disorders and problem drinking in women, includinga a 20-year national longitudinal study of U.S. women (the National Study of Health and Life Experiences of Women [NSHLEW]), in which the investigators re-interviewed the same women at five-year intervals between 1981 and 2001 (about 1600 women in total). During the session, she will share some the findings from the NSHLEW, including some of the risk factors for problem drinking that were identified in the study. Research into gambling addiction in women has revealed that women with gambling-related problems seem to have some of the same characteristics as problem drinking women, as well as some of the same special treatment needs. (Click here for more information on Dr. Wilsnack’s current research.)

Dr. LaPlante, whose research has examined disordered gambling and other addictions in minorities and women, will discuss how gender operates both independently and in conjunction with other factors that predict addictive behavior. She also will discuss the gambling-related gender differences that seem to have endured, despite greater social acceptance of female gamblers, as well as gender differences that seem to be disappearing.

The Women in Gambling session is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 14 at 8:30 a.m. To access Dr. LaPlante’s gender-related research on problem gambling, visit the Institute for Research on Pathological Gambling and Related Disorders’ NCRG Conference Resource Page. When prompted, please enter the case-sensitive password: institute.


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