Avoiding Use Of Stigmatizing Descriptors In Gambling Studies

Recently,(Blaszczynski et al., 2020)published an Editorial note in thejournal, InternationalGamblingStudies, highlighting the importance ofusing carefullanguage when discussing mental health disorders or physical impairments. Often, shorthand is used to describe someone with a disorder, such as: “a schizophrenic” or “a disordered gambler”. The researchers highlight how the negative connotations of these descriptors can impact thesufferers of these conditions.

This editorial notespecificallyconcentrates on gambling disorder. Often, the behaviors of those with gambling disorder are perceived as core traitsof the individualand are judgedas such. These core traits include, character or moral weakness, lack of self-control, and self-centeredness. These stigmas can adversely affect the sufferer by lowering the readiness of a sufferer to disclose the problem and seek treatment.

In the past, the term “pathological gambler” was used and recently, “disordered gambler”and “problem gambler” havebeen used to refer to someone meeting diagnostic criteria for gambling disorder.At this time, a phrasesuch as “problemgambler” isnot seen as inappropriate, but may become so in the future, such as “pathological gambler” hasin recent years.

The main goal of this editor’s note is to make authors aware of the damage certain terms can have, and to ask authors to actively employ language that promotesrespect and dignity for the target subjects. The authors recommend the following terms be avoided:problem gambler’, ‘disordered gambler’, ‘disordered gambling’, ‘pathological gambler’, ‘pathological gambling’, ‘addicted gambler’, ‘impaired gambler’, ‘compulsive gambler’, or ‘self-excluded gambler’. The authors note, however,that many of these terms may be used whencitingexact text of previous literature.

These suggestions are simply to encourage members of the gambling studies community to use careful consideration intheuse of stigmatizing phrases when publishing works. It is their long-term goal that this consideration will lead to a shift in perspective that promotes recovery. The journal of International Gambling Studies recognizes that word-counts may increase as a result of eliminating shorthand descriptors and will take this into consideration by the editorial team.

Blaszczynski, A., Swanton, T., & Gainsbury, S. (2020).

Avoiding use of stigmatising descriptors in gambling studies.International Gambling Studies.

ICRG staffResearch Updategambling disorders