Sexual abuse, residential schooling and probable pathological gambling among Indigenous peoples

Abstract

Sexual abuse leads to short-term and long-lasting pervasive outcomes, including addictions. Among Indigenous Peoples, sexual abuse experienced in the context of residential schooling may have led to unresolved grief that is contributing to social problems, such as pathological (disordered) gambling. The aim of this study is to investigate the link between child sexual abuse, residential schooling and probable pathological gambling. The participants were 358 Indigenous persons (54.2% women) aged between 18 and 87 years, from two communities and two semi-urban centers in Quebec (Canada). Probable pathological gambling was evaluated using the South Oaks Gambling Screen (SOGS), and sexual abuse and residential schooling were assessed with dichotomous questions (yes/no). The results indicate an 8.7% past-year prevalence rate of pathological gambling problems among participants, which is high compared with the general Canadian population. Moreover, 35.4% were sexually abused, while 28.1% reported having been schooled in a residential setting. The results of a logistic regression also indicate that experiences of child sexual abuse and residential schooling are associated with probable pathological gambling among Indigenous Peoples. These findings underscore the importance of using an ecological approach when treating gambling, to address childhood traumas alongside current addiction problems.

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