Measuring the Burden of Gambling Harm in New Zealand

By Browne, M., Bellringer, M., Greer, N., Kolandai-Matchett, K., Rawat, V., Langham, E., Rockloff, M., Palmer Du Preez, K., Abbott, M.

The Ministry of Health engaged Central Queensland University’s (CQU) Experimental Gambling Research Laboratory and Auckland University of Technology’s (AUT) Gambling and Addictions Research Centre to develop a framework and a methodology for understanding and measuring gambling-related harm in the New Zealand population.

The aim of the project was to systematically investigate gambling-related harm in New Zealand, and assess the aggregate ‘Burden of Harm’ caused by gambling with reference to different levels of problem gambling, and other comparable conditions. This improved understanding of the quality and quantity of harm will help to better target efforts to prevent or reduce the potential negative consequences of problematic gambling.

Browne, M., Bellringer, M., Greer, N., Kolandai-Matchett, K., Rawat, V., Langham, E., … Abbott, M. (2017). Measuring the Burden of Gambling Harm in New Zealand. Central Queensland University and Auckland University of Technology. Retrieved from https://www.health.govt.nz/publication/measuring-burden-gambling-harm-new-zealand

Public attitudes towards gambling product harm and harm reduction strategies: an online study of 16–88 year olds in Victoria, Australia

By Thomas, S. L., Randle, M., Bestman, A., Pitt, H., Bowe, S. J., Cowlishaw, S., & Daube, M.

Gambling has quickly emerged as an important global public health issue. With new technologies used to develop high intensity gambling products and promotions aimed at driving consumption, public health organisations and researchers, community groups, and politicians have argued for a range of regulatory and education measures aimed at reducing gambling harm. However, there has been limited research seeking to understand community perceptions of the harms associated with gambling products and environments, and the level of community support for strategies designed to prevent and reduce gambling harm.

Thomas, S. L., Randle, M., Bestman, A., Pitt, H., Bowe, S. J., Cowlishaw, S., & Daube, M. (2017). Public attitudes towards gambling product harm and harm reduction strategies: an online study of 16–88 year olds in Victoria, Australia. Harm Reduction Journal, 14, 49. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12954-017-0173-y

The Unintended Normalization of Gambling: Family Identity Influences on the Adoption of Harmful Consumption Practices

By Westberg, K., Beverland, M. B., & Thomas, S. L. 

Although gambling has been legitimized as a form of leisure, this consumption activity can have individual and social costs. Policy approaches often focus on problem gambling as a discrete activity undertaken by an individual. Drawing on social practice theory and family identity research, we take an alternative approach, identifying how exposure to gambling can occur in emergent ways that can have an unintended but lasting effect. Based on 40 depth interviews, we identify how the pursuit of four family identity goals (membership and bonding, coming-of-age, emotional sustenance, and communing) plays a role in the normalization of gambling in childhood. We then explore how these goals and family gambling practices may contribute to gambling behaviour longer term. Finally, we examine the interplay between family identity goals at the meso-level, and wider macro-level socio-cultural institutions. Policy and social marketing initiatives that acknowledge the influence of identity-related gambling behaviour are recommended.

New Zealanders’ Knowledge, views and experience of gambling and gambling harm: Results from the 2014 Health and Lifestyles Survey

By Holland, K., Tu, D., Gray, R., Hudson, S., & Li, J.

The Health and Lifestyles Survey (HLS) is a biennial, nationally representative, face-to-face, in-home survey that facilitates the monitoring of health behaviours and attitudes of New Zealanders aged 15-years-and-over. The HLS is managed by the Health Promotion Agency (HPA) and collects information relating to the programme areas HPA works in, including minimising harm from gambling.

In 2014, the gambling section of the HLS was designed specifically to be comparable to the 2006/07 Gaming and Betting Activities Survey, a benchmark survey carried out to inform the development of a national health promotion programme aimed at reducing gambling harm. The results for the majority of the 2014 HLS questions were also comparable with those in the 2008, 2010 and 2012 HLS. It is recommended that the findings from this report should be read along with the 2014 HLS report on gambling participation (Tu & Puthipiroj, 2015) and the series of specialised gambling reports from the National Gambling Study (Abbott et al., 2014).

This report uses data from the 2014 HLS to assess experience, knowledge and opinions about gambling harm among New Zealand adults, both overall and among different social and population groups (as defined by gender, ethnicity, neighbourhood deprivation level, risk of gambling harm, type of gambling participation, and number of gambling activities participated in over the past 12 months). Where relevant, results are compared to those from earlier surveys.

Holland, K., Tu, D., Gray, R., Hudson, S., & Li, J. (2017). New Zealanders’ Knowledge, views and experience of gambling and gambling harm: Results from the 2014 Health and Lifestyles Survey. Wellington: Health Promotion Agency Research and Evaluation Unit.

Predictors of early dropout in treatment for gambling disorder: the role of personality disorders and clinical syndromes

By Maniaci, G., La Cascia, C., Picone, F., Lipari, A., Cannizzaro, C., & La Barbera, D. 

Several treatment options for gambling disorder (GD) have been tested in recent years; however dropout levels still remain high. This study aims to evaluate whether the presence of psychiatric comorbidities predicts treatment outcome according to Millon’s evolutionary theory, following a six-month therapy for GD. The role of severity, duration of the disorder, typology of gambling (mainly online or offline) and pharmacological treatment were also analysed. The recruitment included 194 pathological gamblers (PGs) to be compared with 78 healthy controls (HCs). Psychological assessment included the South Oaks Gambling Screen and the Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory-III. The “treatment failure” group (n = 70) comprised PGs who prematurely dropped out of the treatment whereas the “abstinent group” (n = 124) included PGs who completed the treatment regardless of whether the outcome was successful or not. As expected, the presence of psychiatric comorbidities was highlighted as a significant predictor in dropping out of the therapy. Specifically negativistic personality disorder, antisocial personality disorder, drug dependence and PTSD were associated with early dropout. These variables were predictive of treatment outcome independently from the typology of gambling, severity, duration of the disorder and pharmacological treatment. Implications for psychological and psychiatric care are discussed.

Maniaci, G., La Cascia, C., Picone, F., Lipari, A., Cannizzaro, C., & La Barbera, D. (2017). Predictors of early dropout in treatment for gambling disorder: the role of personality disorders and clinical syndromes. Psychiatry Research. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychres.2017.08.003