Gambling Disorders 360°

Exploring the latest news, issues and research relating to gambling disorders and responsible gaming

NCRG Conference: Gambling and Diverse Populations – Issues in Prevalence, Treatment and Responsible Gaming

by: Institute Staff | Nov 14, 2010

The 11th annual NCRG Conference on Gambling and Addiction held a plenary session today that looked at problem gambling among diverse populations, as problem and pathological gambling prevalence rates vary between racial/ethnic groups. One of the presenters, Renee Cunningham-Williams, Ph.D., M.P.E, LCSW, associate professor at the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis, applauded the NCRG and the Institute for holding a session on problem gambling and diverse populations, as it isn’t a topic that is frequently presented at conferences.  

Carlos Blanco, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons, began the session by discussing a study titled “Disordered Gambling Among Racial and Ethnic Groups in the US: Results from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions,” which was published in CNS Spectrums.   This study was the first national study to focus on racial/ethnic differences in gambling disorders. Researchers investigated the prevalence and conditional prevalence of gambling disorders and compared sociodemographic and clinical characteristics among disordered gamblers from racial/ethnic groups.  

The study concluded:

  • Prevalence of disordered gambling differs across racial/ethnic groups.
  • African-Americans and Hispanics face increased levels of socioeconomic adversity than non-Hispanic Whites.  
  • Despite social adversity, African-Americans and Hispanics are less likely to present substance use disorders.
  • Similarities in symptom patterns, course and treatment seeking rates suggest no racial or cultural impact on the presentation of pathological gambling.

Following Dr. Blanco, Dr. Cunningham-Williams discussed the effectiveness of screening and diagnosis methods of gambling disorders for minority populations. She presented a study titled, “Racial/Ethnic Variation in the Reliability of DSM-IV Pathological Gambling Disorder,” which was published in the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease.  

The study aimed to assess racial/ethnic variation in the reliability of self-reported lifetime pathological gambling disorder. The researchers recruited 15- to 85-year-old Caucasians and African (American/other minorities) who had gambled more than five times in their lifetimes. The study participants were interviewed two times, with interview sessions held one week apart. Dr. Cunningham-Williams found that prevalence symptoms of gambling disorders tend to decrease during the second interview, and African-Americans/other minorities of mid-age or over 65 provided less reliable answers than Caucasians. When asked why there was a discrepancy, study participants stated that they misunderstood the question during the first interview, did not pay attention to the question or the interviewer miscoded the answer.

Dr. Blanco’s study and Dr. Cunningham-Williams’ study are available online.

Continue to visit Gambling Disorders 360° for daily updates, on-site reporting about the sessions and audio interviews from leading researchers and industry representatives.

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