African Journal of Social Work

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A phenomenological study of problem gambling: types, risk factors and consequences in Bahir Dar City, Ethiopia

Yitbarek Mehari Getahun, Getahun Koye Kassa


This study was a qualitative phenomenological study that explored the types of gambling, personal, social and environmental risk factors, and consequences of problematic gambling in selected kebeles of Bahir Dar city, Ethiopia. Six participants were included using snow ball sampling method. Data were analyzed by interpretative and thematic phenomenological analysis. Among the identified types of gambling activities, the most common ones were carambolla followed by playing cards, and pool gambling while playing cards was the most harmful reported gambling activity. The results showed that personal factors (socializing and relieving boredom, to escape, and addictive behaviors), social factors (peer influence, relationship problems, and social acceptance), economic (being unemployed and chasing) and environmental factors such as accessibility of gabling houses were significant correlates of problematic gambling. The study also revealed that problem gambling has an impact on personal (health and emotional wellness), social (family, interpersonal relations, work and crime) and economic (indebtedness, losing savings and assets) aspects. The study concluded that the problem needs critical public awareness, research and initiatives from different institutions. Finally, the study recommended different stakeholders to work cooperatively and collaboratively in order to raise public awareness, promote informed choice, research and take legal measures.

Keywords: problematic gambling, types, risk factors, consequences, Ethiopia

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