International students at greater risk of developing gambling problems than domestic students

A recently released Gambling Research Australia study has found that while international students gamble less frequently than domestic students, they are at greater risk of gambling problems.

The joint study by researchers from Swinburne University of Technology, Bond University and Deakin University found that international students tend to increase their gambling in Australia, possibly due to greater access to gambling opportunities, their curiosity about gambling and the casinos in particular.

International student gambling: The role of acculturation, gambling cognitions and social circumstances sought to examine the gambling behaviour of international students compared with domestic students, examine a range of psychological risk factors for gambling problems, compare major cultural groups of international students and examine the help seeking options for international students.

The study reveals that gambling is a particular cause for concern for vulnerable groups, including males, students living alone, and students from Chinese/ Asian or English-speaking western backgrounds.

International student problem gambling prevalence rates appear high, compared to both general population and youth gambling prevalence.

And, while stressors, negative emotions and alcohol consumption appear to be important issues, they are not strongly related to gambling.

Meanwhile, students experiencing gambling-related problems are likely to seek informal help from friends. The study found that international students appear to get little information about responsible gambling or gambling risk when they arrive in Australia and said they would like further education.

The research team suggests that it is possible that specific questioning by allied health staff within universities could uncover hidden gambling problems.

The study’s findings are consistent with the limited research that is presently available on youth gambling, gambling among different culturally and linguistically diverse groups and international/overseas student gambling.

Sixteen hundred students (836 domestic students and 764 international students from the universities carrying out the research) completed an anonymous 12 page internet distributed questionnaire for the research. In addition, 40 international students participated in focus groups.

The full report can be found here.