Date of Award


Document Type

Union College Only

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Melinda Goldner




gambling, medical, behaviors, deviant, individuals


Deviant behaviors are labeled by the more powerful groups in society, and those individuals displaying these characteristics are stigmatized. One behavior deemed deviant, excessive gambling, has come under the auspices of the medical profession. Aided by biological evidence and the support of both medical professionals and the general population, the Institute of Medicine has defined problem gambling as a mental disorder and provides therapy to individuals possessing the symptoms identified by the American Psychiatric Association in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorder (DSM-IV). However, an alternate form of therapy provided by the Gamblers Anonymous organization, competes for acceptance. As gambling becomes legalized in states across the United States, concern for the potential expansion of pathological gambling and related behaviors has grown. Additionally, the individuals and groups benefitting from the revenues accrued by gambling venues support the medical model as it provides an effective treatment and does not associate the industry with deviant behaviors. Given these diverse opinions and the lengthy duration of the medicalization process, the general population and medical professionals were surveyed to determine the extent and perceptions of the medicalization of pathological gambling and the implications on society.