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Concepts of Addictive Substances and Behaviours across Time and Place$
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Matilda Hellman, Virginia Berridge, Karen Duke, and Alex Mold

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198737797

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198737797.001.0001

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General practitioners’ position on problematic gambling in three European welfare states

General practitioners’ position on problematic gambling in three European welfare states

Chapter:
(p.169) Chapter 9 General practitioners’ position on problematic gambling in three European welfare states
Source:
Concepts of Addictive Substances and Behaviours across Time and Place
Author(s):

Michael Egerer

Matilda Hellman

Michał Bujalski

Sara Rolando

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198737797.003.0009

This chapter explores the cultural embeddedness of medical expertise in three European countries by confronting medical practitioners with an issue that has yet to be integrated into medical practice—problem gambling. Focus-group interviews were conducted with groups of Finnish, Italian, and Polish general practitioners (GPs). Film clips depicting gambling problems served as the interview stimuli. The study shows that the country-specific approaches to the problems in general, and their welfare culture, shape GPs’ views on problematic gambling. The Finnish GPs tend to replicate the Nordic welfare state’s inclusive, all-embracing system logic and they embrace some typical individual traits in the same culture. The Italian context of the Southern European welfare state regime is articulated in the GPs’ discourse about familial relations. The influence of the church in shaping the concept of addiction is also made evident. The profound changes in Polish society initiated deep changes in the perception of social problems, including their individualization: the Polish physicians thus referred to individual and familial contexts of help provision. These findings question a simple medicalization claim, and point towards a more complex picture, where institutional practices will concretely influence how problems are perceived.

Keywords:   problem gambling, general practitioners, GPs, medical profession, Finland, Italy, Poland, focus groups

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