Pathological Gambling in Greenland: A new player in the Greenlandic Health Research

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Gambling - a new player in Greenlandic public health research

A growing public and professional awareness of pathological gambling combined with the acknowledgement of a yearly increase in revenues among gambling suppliers, has led to an interest in gambling in public health research in the Arctic.

This paper aims to analyse gambling patterns and the prevalence of pathological gambling among Inuit in Greenland and its association with socioeconomic position and childhood conditions. The underlying hypothesis is the social epidemiological assumption of an uneven distribution of gambling problems among different social groups in society corresponding to the social inequality in health. In order to analyze inequality we need to know more about how to best define social groups in Greenland today.


Analyses include 1331 Inuit from Greenland, ≥18 years, from a cross-sectional study conducted in 2005-2007. Data were collected by an interview and a self-administered questionnaire. The participants reported time and money spent regarding four different types of gambling. Four questions addressed pathological gambling. The questionnaires also included questions on current socioeconomic conditions as well as childhood conditions.  

Results and discussion
Preliminary analysis showed that 77 % of the participants had engaged in gambling activities during the last year. No difference was found between men and women but gambling varied according to age group (p<0,001). The relevance and validity of socioeconomic position and childhood condition as social determinants for gambling require a methodological study, which has not previously been carried out in Greenland. Besides sex and age, childhood conditions, education, occupation, income and assets can be used as measures of socioeconomic position. These measures have not been sufficiently validated in an Arctic context and the quality of the variables is there for unknown. The validity of different measures of socioeconomic position among Greenland Inuit will be discussed in relation to pathological gambling.  

Periode14. jul. 2009
Begivenhedstitel14th International Congress on Circumpolar Health
PlaceringYellowknife, Canada