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Nia Glassie death should not be linked to gambling

Nia Glassie death should not be linked to gambling

In recent days the Problem Gambling Foundation has referred to a recent overseas study to justify its assertion that the Nia Glassie death is somehow linked to problem gambling because her mother was observed to spend time at a Rotorua gaming venue.

Apart from the Charity Gaming Associations strong objection to this shroud waving following the horrible death of a baby girl at the hands of people other than her mother the CGA finds it reprehensible that an organisation paid by the Ministry of Health to advocate on behalf of problem gamblers should use a serious misrepresentation to justify its outrageous assertions.

If the Problem Gambling Foundation staff are the professional researchers they claim to be they would not have made this basic error, says CGA Chief Executive Francis Wevers.

The so-called recent report is anything but recent. The research paper the PGF Chief Executive, Graeme Ramsey quotes was published in 2001 in Health and Social Care in the Community and written in 2000.

However, the citation is not for the actual research, it is a literature review and commentary on research approaches prepared by Australian academics (Darbyshire. Oster and Carig).

The paper prepared by the Australians refers to a much earlier study, published in 1989, by Henry R. Lesieur and Jerome Rothschild in Journal of Gambling Behaviour which was claimed to have stated Children of problem gamblers have also been reported to be at risk of experiencing abuse by both the gambler and his or her spouse. Lesieur and Rothschild (1989) suggest that children of problem gambling parents are two or three times more likely to be abused than their peers

Closer examination shows the claim should have been qualified for a number of reasons.

The study of only 105 US and Canadian children shows that about 23 children of parents who had a gambling problem reported abusive violence by the parent. Just over 40 children whose parents had multiple problems i.e. more than just gambling reported abusive violence by their parents.

The comparative numbers from the control group were already eight years old at the time the Lesieur & Rothschild study was undertaken.

As a result, and as the authors acknowledge, this is hardly conclusive evidence and therefore it should not be extrapolated to New Zealand or any other country 20 years later.

The authors state in their discussion the survey findingssupport some but not all of the clinical impressions about behavioural problems of children of compulsive gamblers

The authors also state while children of pure gamblers seem to experience minimal harmful behaviour, they still need help

The study identifies a range of reasons why the results are at variance with previous studies and acknowledges that subsequent research may not support the outcomes reported.

So, far from relying on a recent overseas report, the PGF has quoted from a qualified study which is 20 years old and involves only 105 US and Canadian participants without acknowledging any of the substantial qualifications which surround the study from a New Zealand perspective.

Once again the desire by the PGF to create an emotional context to their claims about problem gambling in New Zealand has led them down the path of exaggeration and scientific misrepresentation which does nothing for problem gamblers, their children or the family of Nia Glassie, concludes Francis Wevers.


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