Changing Spousal Roles and Their Effect on Recovery in Gamblers Anonymous: GamAnon, Social Support, Wives and Husbands
Ferentzy P, Skinner W, Antze P.
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, ON, Canada.
J Gambl Stud. 2009 Dec 22.
This paper examines changing spousal roles and their effects upon recovery in Gamblers Anonymous (GA). It is based upon a qualitative study designed to gage uniformity as well as variations in approaches to recovery in GA.
Interviews were conducted with 39 GA members (26 men, 13 women; mean age 56.5 years). Though the study was based in the Toronto area, only 13 interviews involved participants from that region. Phone interviews were conducted with GA members from various regions of both Canada and the US. GamAnon, GA’s sister fellowship, has been designed for anyone affected seriously by someone’s gambling problem. In practice, GamAnon comprises mostly women–spouses of male GA members–who traditionally have taken a keen interest in the ways in which their husbands achieve and maintain abstinence from gambling. Changing spousal roles have led to fewer women joining GamAnon, as many opt instead to part with troubled spouses. As well, more women are attending GA than in the past, typically with husbands who are disinclined to join GamAnon. All of this has drastically altered how GA members pursue recovery. These changes and their implications are discussed.