Dr Aino Suomi, Ass/Prof Nicki Dowling (Deakin University)

Funding source

Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation for 2019-2020


  1. Develop an evidence-based framework for engaging individuals with lived experience of gambling-related harms in research.
  2. Examine how co-morbid conditions and gambling impact on the experiences of formal treatment (including both gambling and mental health treatment) and the pathways into treatment.
  3. Better understand how co-morbid and multimorbid conditions interact with gambling related harms in the process of recovery from gambling.


Phase 1

During this phase we will develop an evidence-based framework for the engagement of individuals with lived experience of gambling related harm. The framework will include strategies for multiple levels of engagement in research and will provide clear guidance as to the appropriate definitions and lived experience terminology for gambling context. Research questions:

  1. What is the appropriate terminology around the lived experience of gambling-related harms including key definitions of lived experience in the context of gambling research and treatment?
  2. What are the existing frameworks for engagement of people with lived experience of gambling in research?
  3. What is the evidence for what works (and what does not) in these frameworks?
  4. What are the key components of an engagement framework that covers all elements of research?
  5. What practical, measurable indicators of engagement impact exist and how can they be built into the framework?
  6. Which mechanisms of accountability are effective for ensuring engagement beyond tokenism?

Phase 2

During this phase we will apply the model developed in Phase 1 to examine the lived experience of gambling-related harms and co-existing mental health conditions. Research questions:

  1. In what ways do co-existing mental health/AOD problems and gambling-related harm interact?
  2. What role does the complexity of co-existing conditions play in help-seeking decisions and journeys through treatment services?
    • How do co-existing conditions impact on treatment entry, persistence or drop-out?
    • What are the treatment histories prior to the current treatment episode?
    • What are the aspects of treatment that are the most helpful and least helpful in relation to managing gambling-related harm and co-existing mental health conditions?
  3. What is the relationship between potential trauma, gambling and other mental health issues (including family violence)?
  4. What is the history of help-seeking prior to the most recent treatment 'episode' (treatment pathways)?

Associated publications

Suomi, A., Dowling, N.A., Thomas, S. et al. (2019). Patterns of Family and Intimate Partner Violence in Problem Gamblers. Journal of Gambling Studies. 35: 465.

Suomi, A., Freeman, B., & Banfield, M. (2017). Framework for the engagement of people with a lived experience in program implementation and research. Australian National University, Canberra.

Suomi, A., & Dowling, N. (2020). Lived experience of help-seeking in the presence of gambling related harms and coexisting mental health conditions. Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation, Melbourne.

Suomi, A. Dowling, N. A., & Jackson, A. C. (2014). Problem gambling subtypes based on psychological distress, alcohol abuse and impulsivity.Addictive Behaviors, 39(12), 1741-1745.

Lubman, D., Manning, V., Dowling, N., Rodda, S., Lee, S., Garde, E., Merkouris, S. & Volberg, R. (2017). Problem gambling in people seeking treatment for mental illness. Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation, Melbourne.

For further details contact the main investigator Dr Aino Suomi.

Have a question?

We're available 9am–5pm AEDT,
Monday to Friday

If you’ve got a question, our AskACU team has you covered. You can search FAQs, text us, email, live chat, call – whatever works for you.

Live chat with us now

Chat to our team for real-time
answers to your questions.

Launch live chat

Visit our FAQs page

Find answers to some commonly
asked questions.

See our FAQs