Using Photovoice With Male Problematic Gamblers to Understand Their Lived Story on the Path to Recovery in South Korea

Min Ah Kim, Jong Serl Chun, Hai Sun Shim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Illegal gambling has significantly affected individuals’ lives in South Korea, and it is difficult for problematic gamblers to recover despite the decreasing rate of problematic gambling. This study used photovoice to explore the life experiences and desires of seven male problematic gamblers in a rehabilitation center during their path to recovery in South Korea. Photovoice consisted of six sessions involving orientation, photo-taking and group discussions of photographs, and sharing of outcomes. Twelve subthemes emerged within four main themes predetermined by the participants: (a) my life after gambling, (b) what I have lost from gambling, (c) what would help my recovery, and (d) picturing myself recovered in the near future. Participants’ lives had completely changed after they started gambling; particularly, their personality had been negatively affected and their life became filled with mental suffering. Their financial well-being was compromised, their health worsened, and they lost the trust of other people and a sense of purpose in their lives. Despite these challenges, they made tremendous efforts to recover from gambling and pictured a recovered future. The lived narratives provide evidence that recovery from gambling problems is a long journey including recognition of the problem and development of personal strategies that are perceived as beneficial for their recovery and strengthening their motivation for change.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSAGE Open
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This research was supported by a grant of the Korea Center on Gambling Problems

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2022.


  • South Korea
  • photovoice
  • problematic gambling
  • recovery


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