News @ JSI

JSI to Evaluate Gambling in Massachusetts

June 7, 2017

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission has hired JSI to lead an evaluation that will examine recreational and problem gambling behavior in Massachusetts African-American communities.

Through a qualitative research approach, the findings of the study will help inform the creation of culturally and linguistically appropriate prevention and treatment messages, screening tools, social marketing materials, and research questions to attend to the needs of those affected by problem gambling in Massachusetts' black community. This study is timely and urgent given the seriousness of the problem, the advent of casino gambling in Massachusetts, and the dearth of knowledge that exists in this field.

To implement this study, JSI’s Rodolfo R. Vega, PhD, a community psychologist with years of experience working with communities of color, will partner with experts in the fields of gambling and behavioral health:

  • Dr. Kermit Crawford, licensed psychologist and director of the Center for Multicultural Mental Health
  • Mr. Phillip Kopel, research, data management and evaluation director at the Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling
  • Dr. Dharma E. Cortes, researcher at Cambridge Health Alliance/Harvard Medical School Department of Psychiatry

“Problem gambling is an addiction that affects our society in general, but has disproportionate negative effects on the African-American community,” notes Dr. Vega. “This study responds to the dearth of knowledge about the effects of gambling on this population by creating a knowledge base to create prevention and treatment intervention resources before these problems are magnified by the arrival of casinos here in Massachusetts.”

To ensure the research is responsive to the best interests of the participants, JSI and its partners will employ the participatory action research technique, which gives members of the research group the opportunity to provide input on questions and findings. This methodology mirrors our commitment to making participants active partners in identifying problems and implementing solutions within their community, and our commitment to engaging underprivileged populations in a manner that respects the unique historical context and lived experience of their community.