Family violence among help-seeking gamblers: the effect of having dependent children

April 5, 2017

The 4th Australian and New Zealand Addiction Conference is almost here again and this year will be held at Mantra on View Hotel, Gold Coast next month over 15th – 17th May.

Keynotes for 2017 include:

  • Associate Professor Petra Staiger, School of Psychology, Deakin University
  • Professor Olaf Drummer, Deputy Director Academic Programs, Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine
  • Professor Michael Farrell, Director, National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre
  • Dr Andrew Campbell, Senior Lecturer in Psychology, Faculty of Health Sciences, The University of Sydney
  • Professor Murat Yucel, Head of Addiction Program of Research, Monash Institute of Cognitive and Clinical Neurosciences (MICCN), Monash University
  • Talitha Cummins, Journalist, Newsreader, Speaker & Advocate for change
  • Ms Sally McCarthy, Clinical Director, Emergency Care Institute NSW

Dr Maria Bellringer, Associate Director, Gambling and Addictions Research Centre, Auckland University of Technology joins us next month at the conference to discuss  ‘Family violence among help-seeking gamblers: the effect of having dependent children’.

In New Zealand, gambling treatment providers have reported that problem gambling and family violence are highly co-existing, with the challenges of parenting recognised as having the potential to place additional strain on vulnerable families.  This study investigated the relationships between problem gambling and family violence in a population of help-seeking gamblers (n=370) recruited from three national gambling treatment services.

Family violence was measured using a modified version of the HITS scale covering physical, psychological, verbal, emotional and sexual violence.  Multiple logistic regression analyses demonstrated a relationship between problem gambling and violence.  Further analyses on a subsample of the help-seeking gamblers (n=166) investigated the effect of having dependent children (younger than 18 years) living at home, on their experiences of family violence.  The sample comprised 43% females, and 37% with dependent children.  Forty-nine percent of participants reported being a victim of family violence and 43% reported perpetrating violence.

Multivariable logistic regression modelling was conducted adjusting in sequence for significant socio-demographic, psychosocial and gambling confounding factors.  Having dependent children at home, compared with not having dependent children, was associated with greater risk of both being a victim of, and perpetrating, family violence.  Asian ethnicity and receiving income support were protective factors against being a family violence victim, while a risk factor was having above median inadequacy symptoms.

Asian ethnicity was also protective against family violence perpetration; there was a complex relationship with interpersonal support and having strategies for emotion regulation.  Aggression, and drug issues amongst family members were risk factors for violence perpetration.  The limitations of the study will be outlined and implications for improving the linkages between problem gambling services and programmes supporting vulnerable families will be discussed.

For more information on the upcoming 2017 Australian and New Zealand Addiction Conference and to secure your spot, please visit


Add your Comment