An ecological and life course analysis of binge drinking and problem gambling among Indigenous populations in Canada

Abstract

The focus of this thesis was to better understand the link between social environments: namely, the school and workplace; and addictive behaviour among Indigenous youth and adults in Canada. Secondary datasets were accessed and analyzed. Data derived from the 2012 Aboriginal Peoples Survey was used to examine the impacts of the school environment, extracurricular activity, and peer risk behaviour on binge drinking among First Nations and M├ętis youth aged 15 to 24 living in urban environments. Results indicate that peer risk behaviour was the strongest determinant of binge drinking, but that the school environment both positively and negatively influenced peer behaviour making it an important target for interventions to reduce binge drinking. Results suggest increased opportunities for extracurricular activities at school may also reduce binge drinking among Indigenous youth, particularly among those disengaged from school. Data derived from the Quinte Longitudinal Study was used to examine the role of trauma and changes in job satisfaction and stressful life events on at-risk gambling behaviour among employed Indigenous adults. Overall, results indicate that those who were more satisfied in their work were less likely to engage in at-risk gambling. Among Indigenous women, those who experienced more stressful life events were more likely to engage in at-risk gambling. These findings highlight the need for policies and programs aimed upstream to improve work and school environments and reduce structural inequalities.

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