Gambling involves betting on the outcome of a game or event. Problem gambling can be harmful to your mental and physical health, as well as affecting your relationships with friends, family and work colleagues. It can also lead to debt and even homelessness. If you think you might have a problem, speak to your GP or a trained counsellor.
The causes of gambling harm are complex and multifaceted, including individual behaviour, mood disorders, and the wider socio-cultural environment. A more holistic approach to harm reduction should incorporate elements that consider these factors, including broader social and economic policies, cultural trends and the material culture of gambling.
A social practice theory perspective offers a valuable framework for understanding these forces. This perspective emphasises that practices are rarely performed in isolation but as part of a ‘nexus’ of activities – such as drinking and socialising with friends.
Research could explore how different nexus practices interact to influence each other and the consequences of their combinations. For example, socialising with friends often coincides with gambling and may influence the intensity of gambling or how much money is spent on gambling. This research could include longitudinal studies that consider how these connections change over time.
A nexus of practice approach also acknowledges that gambling is an activity facilitated by and embedded within a wider culture of consumerism and entertainment. This culture is promoted by the media and shaped by wider socio-cultural constructs such as ideas of hedonism, thrill and adventure, mateship, and status. These socio-cultural influences lend themselves to gambling marketing and promotion which utilises these themes in advertisements, games and other activities.