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Gambling Differences Between Ethnicity And Gender


Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Study shows gambling differences between Pacific Island ethnicities and gender

AUT University researchers have found significant gambling differences between ethnicity and gender when studying Pacific Island parents in 2006/07, in a project funded by the Ministry of Health.

The findings will advance our understanding of gambling in a population sector that experiences very high levels of gambling-related harm, says Professor Max Abbott, co-director of the AUT Gambling and Addictions Research Centre that conducted the study.  They also have relevance to community education programmes around gambling, such as the Ministry of Health’s current ‘Kiwi Lives Social Marketing Campaign’,

The newly-released findings show that although gambling participation is substantially lower than in the general population, slightly more mothers (36%) gambled than fathers (30%) in the 12 months prior to the study.  For the New Zealand adult population as a whole, two-thirds gambled during the past 12 months, with no gender difference. 

Ethnicity is also a key factor in gambling, as it is for alcohol and smoking.  For example, Tongan mothers were less likely to gamble than Samoan mothers; however, those who gambled were 2.4 times more likely to be classified as at risk/problem gamblers. 

Mothers who drank alcohol were more likely to have a higher weekly gambling expenditure, and correlations could be drawn between frequency and amount of consumption and higher gambling expenditure.

Further gender differences were noted in terms of associations between gambling and health. For fathers, both gambling and at risk/problem gambling were associated with psychological distress and those who gambled were more likely to be perpetrators as well as victims of verbal aggression, than those who did not.

These findings are part of the Pacific Islands Families (PIF) study. The PIF study, being carried out by AUT researchers, has been following 1398 infants and their families for the past eight years.

Professor Abbott says previous studies have indicated that although Pacific peoples gamble less than New Zealanders generally, those who do are much more likely to develop problems and there are differences between the different Pacific cultures in relation to gambling.

“The longitudinal cohort PIF study has offered a valuable and unique opportunity to study gambling and problem gambling within a Pacific family and child developmental context.” 

“It has allowed for sub-analysis of major ethnic Pacific groups and the potential to begin identifying risk and protective factors in the development of problem gambling,” says Professor Abbott.

The PIF study is the first longitudinal Pasifika study in New Zealand. The cohort was drawn from children born at Middlemore Hospital in 2000 and researchers have been working closely with them ever since.

The study’s aim is to provide information on the children’s health, cultural, economic, environmental and psychosocial factors considered to be important influences on child health and development and family functioning.

It has gained international recognition for providing connections with the Pacific community which was previously considered a difficult-to-reach group for researchers.


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