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Study will spotlight underrepresented Native Americans

August 22, 2012
by Gary A. Enos, Editor
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A study of gambling and alcohol use behavior among Native Americans will likely reveal some significant findings on these co-occurring problems, but more importantly could lead the way to a sharper focus on a population that has been underrepresented in overall research.

“Native Americans represent only 1.5% of the U.S. population, and thus national surveys typically include very few Native Americans in their samples,” principal investigator Grace Barnes, PhD, commented to Addiction Professional this week. “Consequently, there is very little research examining gambling and substance use among this important population.”

Funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) at just over $416,000, the new study will analyze the effects of gambling availability and various socio-demographic variables on Native Americans’ frequency of gambling and co-occurring alcohol abuse.

Barnes, a Research Institute on Addictions (RIA; University at Buffalo) senior research scientist, says that this research is linked to the institute’s ongoing Survey of Gambling in the U.S., which is examining gambling and alcohol use behavior in a sample of 3,000 adults.

Moreover, she adds that the Native American-focused study seeks “to develop methods of surveying a diverse group of individual Native Americans across the United States.”

The RIA announced the funding of the study this month as it also announced National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding of studies examining the role of impulse control strategies in stopping alcohol use and the influence of specific partner behaviors in an individual’s attempt to quit smoking.



Are any Native Americans on the research team? I am concerned if not, because people from the majority culture won't be able to understand the issues.

A Non-Native Substance Abuse Counselor