Family Violence Among Help-seeking Gamblers: The Effect of Having Dependent Children
Bellringer, M; Pearson, J; Koziol-McLain, J; Abbott, M
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This study investigated the effect of problem gambler gender on the relationship between the gambler having dependent children (younger than 18 years) living at home and the gambler perpetrating or being a victim of family violence. The sample comprised 164 help-seeking gamblers (43% female; 37% with dependent child/ren) recruited from three national gambling treatment services in New Zealand. Family violence was measured using a modified version of the HITS scale covering physical, psychological, verbal, emotional and sexual violence. Forty-nine percent of participants reported being a victim of violence and 43% had perpetrated violence. Multivariable logistic regression modelling was conducted, adjusting in sequence for significant socio-demographic, psychosocial and gambling factors. The relationship between having dependent children and being a victim of family violence was gender-related. Female gamblers living with dependent children reported more family violence perpetration and victimisation than male gamblers living with dependent children. Female gamblers with dependent children living at home had greater odds of being a victim of family violence than male gamblers without dependent children living at home. This relationship remained when adjusted for contextual factors of being a victim (ethnicity, income support status, and feelings of inadequacy) in this sample. A similar gender effect of having dependent children living at home on violence perpetration disappeared when known psychosocial contextual factors of violence perpetration (aggression, difficulties in emotion regulation, drug issue in the family, and interpersonal support) were taken into account. These findings suggest the value of coordinated approaches between gambling treatment services and programmes supporting vulnerable families in order to identify vulnerable families and put support mechanisms in place.