The research aimed to map the social networks of low- and moderate-risk gamblers, in terms of their gambling and other potentially risky behaviours, such as alcohol consumption. It sought to understand whether the social networks of low-risk and moderate-risk gamblers differ to those of non-gamblers, non-problem gamblers and problem gamblers.
A total of 784 respondents (18+ from Victoria) were recruited through an online market research panel, with approximately equal numbers of non-gamblers, non-problem gamblers, low risk gamblers, moderate risk gamblers and problem gamblers.
The research showed that low- and moderate-risk gamblers are surrounded by gamblers (as well as smokers and drinkers), more so than non-gamblers and non-problem gamblers, but less so than problem gamblers.
Approximately 50% of the most influential people in their lives are gamblers. Low- and moderate-risk gamblers are also surrounded by, and gamble with, more people who experience gambling-related harm compared to non-gamblers and non-problem gamblers, but less so than problem gamblers.
The researchers conclude that this indicates a role of either normalisation of behaviour through social influence, or social selection, whereby people associate with others who share their interests, or a combination of normalisation and social selection.
Russell, A, Langham, E, Hing, N, Rawat, V, 2018, Social influences on gamblers by risk group: An egocentric social network analysis, Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation, Melbourne.