Deakin University

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A critical qualitative inquiry of the social practices of older adult gamblers: implications for public health risk prevention

journal contribution
posted on 2022-11-28, 02:11 authored by Rebecca H Johnson, Hannah PittHannah Pitt, Melanie Randle, Samantha ThomasSamantha Thomas
Abstract Older adults' participation in gambling is increasing internationally. Due to their lifestage, older adults may be vulnerable to gambling-related harm. When investigating older adults' gambling, researchers have mostly focused on the individual characteristics of ‘problem gamblers’. Less is known about the socio-cultural, environmental and commercial factors that may influence older adults' gambling behaviours. Utilising Social Practice Theory, this critical qualitative inquiry of N = 40 Australian older adults (aged 55 and over) explored how social practices influenced gambling participation. Using a Constructivist Grounded Theory approach, data were interpreted using a reflexive thematic analysis. Theme 1 identified how gambling practices fulfilled older adults' social needs. Gambling was embedded in social activities and created a sense of belonging. Theme 2 highlighted how gambling became an everyday part of some participants' lives, with a range of routines constructed around gambling. While social factors influenced routinised gambling behaviours, the accessibility of gambling products in everyday settings contributed to engagement with gambling. This study demonstrates that a range of social, environmental and commercial factors may influence and routinise the gambling practices of older adults. Interventions aimed at preventing and reducing routine gambling participation among older adults should acknowledge the interplay between agency and social structure. Public health responses should aim to disrupt routine behaviours associated with gambling for older adults.



Ageing and Society

Article number

PII S0144686X22001179




Cambridge, Eng.







Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal


Cambridge University Press