Association between gambling and exposure to guns among cocaine-using women


The purpose of this study is to assess the association between gambling severity and exposure to guns among substance-using women recruited in the community. Data for these analyses come from the baseline phase of two community-based HIV prevention interventions conducted among alcohol and drug-using women in St. Louis, MO. Gun exposure was assessed using the Violence Exposure Questionnaire (VEQ), and DSM-IV pathological gambling (PG) symptoms and other psychiatric symptoms were assessed using the Computerized Diagnostic Interview Schedule; The Composite International Diagnostic Interview Substance Abuse Module assessed DSM-IV substance dependence, including cocaine dependence and alcohol dependence. Women in the study were predominantly African American (80%), mean age was 35.70 years ±8.8. Women exposed to guns were significantly more likely than women not exposed to guns to have gambled with all consequences: without meeting PG criteria (21% vs. 15%); to meet 1 to 4 PG criteria (22% vs. 12%), and to report 5 or more PG criteria (10% vs. 5%). These differences were significant at p < 0.0001. Based on the multivariate analysis, women who gambled without PG symptoms (OR = 1.77; 95% CI = 1.10–2.85) were nearly twice more likely to have exposure to guns than women who did not gamble. The risk for gun exposure increased with severity of gambling. Women who gambled and reported one to four PG criteria were twice as likely to have had an exposure to guns (OR 2.04; 95% CI = 1.45–3.06) and this risk increased to nearly threefold among women who met five or more criteria of PG (OR 2.65; 95% CI = 1.32–5.32). In addition, endorsing five or more criteria for major depressive disorder (OR 1.44; 95% CI = 1.00–2.06) and three or more criteria for antisocial personality adult criteria (OR 3.78; 95% CI = 2.03–7.02) were strong predictors for gun exposure among these women. The findings indicate that substance-using women with gambling behavior are at an enhanced risk to have exposure to guns.

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