Investigating the Associations of Problem Gambling With Mental Health Risk Factors Among Pacific Women Living in New Zealand
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Problem gambling is a severe mental health issue. Both New Zealand and International evidence agree that some groups within populations are more vulnerable to developing problematic gambling behaviours than others. Within New Zealand, Pacific people have been identified as the most at-risk ethnic group of becoming problem gamblers. There currently exists a paucity of research relating to problem gambling among Pacific women. This is extremely worrying, as studies have noted that when compared to other ethnic groups, they have a significantly increased risk of problem gambling. These problem gambling behaviours are negatively associated and influenced by certain mental health risk factors such as poor education, low-income attainment, smoking, low acculturation, inadequate physical activity and unemployment. Unfortunately, the predictable outcome of these mental health risk factors is an increased likelihood of problem gambling for Pacific women. Utilising a quantitative research methodology with data obtained from the Pacific Island Families Study (PIFS) - 2014 Phase, the purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship of problem gambling with mental health risk factors and how they impacted on the mental well-being of Pacific women. The findings from this study indicated that statistically significant associations were found with education, weekly income and employment. The three mental health risk factors observed; unemployment, poor education and low income were identified as increasing the likelihood of problem gambling among Pacific women. The mental health risk factors found to have associations with problem gambling are all defined as modifiable risk factors. It was also noted that education had a substantial influencing impact on transitioning employment and income into protective factors of mental health. With this crucial concept in mind, the study developed recommended strategies aimed at improving education so that flow on effect may be observed with the other two risk factors, thus helping to reduce problem gambling and improving mental health among Pacific women.