Focused literature review for the problem gambling programme

Abstract

Reports on the current state of knowledge of gambling in New Zealand, the impacts of gambling, risk factors for problems, influences on gambling behaviour, preventing harm and supporting positive change. Finds that participation has decreased but the majority of New Zealanders participate in gambling. 0.4% of the population are problem gamblers and a further 1.3% moderate risk gamblers. Harmful gambling is related to psychological distress, reduced self-rated health, hazardous alcohol use and smoking, but also impacts relationships, families and communities, and has links to crime. There are likely differences between cultural groups. People aged between 35 and 44 are at significantly greater risk of harm, as are people of Maori and Pacific ethnicity, those with lower educational attainment and living in deprived areas. There is evidence that accessibility and marketing are important factors in harm. Gambling behaviour is influenced strongly by social factors, but well-designed longitudinal studies are needed to improve understanding. There is also a limited understanding of how to prevent gambling problems from developing, and most people do not seek help until reaching crisis. Evidence on gambling treatment effectiveness and efficacy is also weak, and treatment is hindered b high dropout rates. Recommends research focused on developing a better understanding of the role that gambling plays in people's lives, and how public health approaches can take into account the high levels of co-morbidity and its links into communities.

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