Prevalence and Correlates of Lifetime Disordered Gambling in Cambodian Refugees Residing in Long Beach, CA

Published in: Journal of immigrant and minority health, v. 11, no. 1, Feb. 2009, p. 35-40

by Grant N. Marshall, Marc N. Elliott, Terry L. Schell

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BACKGROUND: Research has suggested that disordered gambling is endemic to Cambodian refugees. Whereas earlier study of the prevalence and correlates of disordered gambling has relied on convenience sampling, this investigation used a subset of a sample representative of the largest Cambodian refugee community in the US. METHODS: Face-to-face interviews assessing gambling disorder were conducted with a subsample of persons (N = 127) participating in a broader study of the mental health of this community. RESULTS: 13.9% of participants met screening criteria for lifetime disordered gambling, in contrast to previous research suggesting that prevalence rates may exceed 70%. After adjusting for a range of covariates, breadth of trauma exposure and marital status emerged as significant predictors of disordered gambling. DISCUSSION: Given the myriad mental health challenges facing the Cambodian refugee community, these data indicate that scarce prevention and treatment resources may be more productively channeled toward addressing other mental health and social service needs.

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