The Society for Social Work and Research

2013 Annual Conference

January 16-20, 2013 I Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina I San Diego, CA

Emotional Support, Instrumental Support, and Gambling Participation Among Filipino Americans

Saturday, January 19, 2013: 9:00 AM
Executive Center 2A (Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina)
* noted as presenting author
Isok Kim, PhD, Graduate, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor, MI
Wooksoo Kim, PhD, Assistant Professor, University at Buffalo, State University of New York, Buffalo, NY
Thomas Nochajski, PhD, Associate Professor, State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY
Background: Social support mitigates the adverse effects of life stresses, such as acculturative stress, following immigration. As a way to de-stress, many Asian immigrants turn to gambling.  Abundant accessibility and availability of gambling in the U.S., in combination with gambling permeable ethnic culture, have dramatically increased gambling participation of Asian immigrant populations, leading to increased risk for gambling-related problems.  Current literature lacks empirical findings that attend to the issues of gambling among Asian immigrants – one of the fastest growing minority groups in the U.S.  Different types of social support may have differential effects on people’s gambling behaviors. This study analyzed a representative regional data on Filipino Americans to examine the effects of instrumental support and emotional support on gambling participation on gambling participation among Filipino Americans.

Method: We analyzed the data from the 1998-1999 Filipino American Community Epidemiological Study (FACES), a representative sample of Filipino Americans that used a stratified probabilistic sampling technique. Bilingual interviewers conducted individual interviews with 2285 Filipino adults between the ages of 18-65 years, living in San Francisco and Honolulu (a 78% response rate). After excluding cases with missing values, we used 2259 cases for the current study. We ran two separate regression analyses to obtain regionally-specific and applicable results, rather than conducting one overall group analysis that aggregates the characteristics of two distinct subgroups in this study. Hierarchical linear regression was used to examine the factors associated with gambling behavior (frequency of gambling in the previous 12 months). The measures used in the analyses include psychological distress, health concerns, emotional and instrumental supports, and six sociodemographic variables (age, sex, education, marital status, nativity status, and location of residence). The weight variable was used to report correct standard errors, reflecting sampling technique used in collecting the original data.

Results: The results of hierarchical regression showed that being male (b=0.604; p <0.001) and older age (b=0.038; p <0.001) significantly were associated with gambling participation among Filipino Americans living in San Francisco.  Among Filipino Americans in Honolulu, being male (b=0.496; p <0.001), born in the U.S. (b=0.531; p <0.001), a higher number of health problems (b=0.131; p <0.001), a higher level of instrumental support (b=0.199; p <0.001) and a lower level of emotional support (b=-0.442; p <0.001) were associated with a higher level of gambling participation.

Implications: Using the only representative data that tapped into gambling issues to date for any Asian immigrant groups, the study results demonstrated that in an environment with restricted gambling (i.e., Honolulu), a higher level of emotional support works as a protective factor, whereas a higher level of instrumental support works as an enabling factor for more gambling participation. However, these social support factors do not facilitate nor hinder gambling behaviors among those who are living in the community where gambling opportunities are ubiquitous (i.e., San Francisco). It implies the importance of social policy in developing gambling behaviors. Future studies need to identify the threshold level at which gambling participation becomes liable for developing gambling-related problems among Asian immigrants.