Problem Gambling and its Ministerial Needs: A Study in the Catholic Diocese of Lexington, Kentucky

Team Members/Contributors

Scott A Hunt Eastern Kentucky University Contact Me

About this project grant for researchers

The project will explore how pastors and others understand and address the spiritual and practical needs of individuals and families affected by problem gambling. Pastors and others are frontline conduits to pastoral counseling and mental health therapy, but frequently lack sufficient knowledge and awareness to be effective. This is especially true for problem gambling. This apparent lack of awareness in the church is problematic given that some church communities engage in charitable gaming. In terms of research there is not any research that directly explores clerical and lay knowledge and awareness of problem gambling and how those impact their ability to minister to individuals with gambling disorders. The project will gather data from pastors, staff members, and volunteers in the Catholic Diocese of Lexington, Kentucky. Twenty-two data collection sessions will be arranged. Participants will be given a 40-question survey that will ask their views on a range of issues pertaining to problem gambling. Completing these questions will serve as a “pretest.” After completing this survey, participants will be given a 60-minute knowledge and awareness training on problem gambling. Upon completion of the presentation, participants will again be given the 40-question survey. The analysis will describe the participants’ knowledge of the types of gambling available in Kentucky, the nature of problem gambling, the availability of help and treatment resources, perceptions of the seriousness of the problem, parish practices concerning charitable games, and personal experience with problem gamblers. A pre-test/post-test, item by item analysis will follow to see what impact the training program had on the participants’ knowledge, awareness, and understanding of the problem. The results will be disseminated to primary stakeholders, other faith communities, recovering problem gamblers, and professional audiences.