Betting on Balance: A Narrative of Aboriginal Problem Gamblers
Burnett, Jody Lee
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The basis for this study was founded on the results gathered from inquiry conducted at the master’s level titled, “The Aboriginal Family Members’ Experience of Problem Gambling” (Burnett, 2005), which explored the social, economical, and psychological experiences of Aboriginal family members of problem gamblers who resided in Regina. Results indicated that support services for Aboriginal problem gamblers and their families were insufficient and often times inaccessible. The rise in the prevalence of Aboriginal problem gamblers, combined with a lack of culturally specific supports, fosters the potential for the experience of significant life consequences. Furthermore, current literature indicates that Aboriginal people experience higher rates of ill health when compared to the general population and barriers to accessing mentalhealth services and supports are linked to such factors as social marginalization, gender, poverty, identity, and colonization. This study investigated the experiences of Aboriginal problem gamblers as they navigated access to addiction support services. Through the use of a narrative methodology, each participant provided a personal and historical context as it related to their experience with problem gambling, as well as perceived accessibility and effectiveness of potential support services. Recommendations are also included that identify ways in which better supports could be offered, ways that are more congruent with Aboriginal ways of healing. Postcolonial theory and critical race theory (CRT) provide context to the foundational, historical components of this work.