Gambling behaviour and gambling risk factors for Indigenous Australian women

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Hing, N, Breen, H, Gordon, A & Russell, A 2014, 'Gambling behaviour and gambling risk factors for Indigenous Australian women', International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, vol. 12, no. 1, pp. 1-20.

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Minimal detailed research has been conducted into gambling by Indigenous women, despite indications from previous studies that they tend to be highly involved gamblers and a high risk group for gambling problems. This quantitative analysis investigates key aspects of gambling by Indigenous Australian women and determines risk factors underpinning problem gambling. Study participants were 687 Indigenous women recruited from Indigenous sports and cultural festivals. The survey instrument focused on socio-demographic characteristics, age of first gamble, gambling motivations, gambling behaviour, substance use while gambling, problem gambling severity, harms arising from gambling and help-seeking efforts. The findings reveal elevated rates of gambling participation, especially on poker machines, and a high prevalence of gambling problems when compared to the general population. Indigenous women who are motivated to gamble to socialise with friends and family are significantly less likely to be problem gamblers. However, risk factors for problem gambling include gambling on a greater number of gambling forms, high gambling expenditure, early onset of gambling, escape-based gambling motivations, self-reported addiction to gambling, and using alcohol and drugs while gambling. Findings point to an urgent need for culturally appropriate treatment for Indigenous Australian women with gambling problems. Culturally appropriate community education and harm minimisation measures should also be available for Indigenous women who gamble given the seemingly high proportion likely to experience at least some harm from gambling. The cost of such approaches would be returned in the enhanced health and wellbeing of Indigenous Australian women, their families and communities.

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