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Concurrent psychological disorders, problem gambling and decision-making ability

Name of researcher: Retina Rimal


Name of Supervisors: Dr Robin-Marie Shepherd/ Dr Frederick Sundram


I am a PhD candidate in the University of Auckland at the School of Psychological Medicine. My supervisors are Dr Robin Shepherd and Dr Frederick Sundram.


This project

 Aim: The research aims to understand the association between social anxiety and decision making in relation to playing EGM (Electronic Gaming Machines, pokies, slot machines, or fruit machines).


Rationale: I am conducting this study because very little is known about the association between social anxiety, decision making and in relation to playing EGMs. This study will also help understand why people play EGMs.


Duration: This project will last approximately six months.


Compensation:  You will enter a lucky draw to win one of ten $50 petrol vouchers.


Benefits: The results from this project will help in developing public health programs and will be relevant to health-care professionals in the field.


Risks: Some of the risks associated with this research are embarrassment or stress with regard to sharing personal experiences.

If you feel any kind of stress due to your participation, you can contact the Anxiety Helpline on 0800 111 757 or 0800 ANXIETY (2694 389) or lifeline on 0800 543 345

If you feel, you have a gambling problem you can contact the following:

Gambling Helpline on 0800 654 655 anytime, available for free or you can text 8006. The Gambling Helpline also offers four specialist services; Maori Gambling Helpline, Pasifika Gambling Helpline, Debt Gambling Helpline, and Youth Gambling Helpline.

Problem Gambling Foundation

Address: 128 Khyber Pass Rd, Grafton, Auckland 1150

Phone: 09-368 1520

There is also a brief intervention free of charge if you are concerned about your gambling behavior at


Invitation to Participate


You are being invited to take part in the study if you have used an electronic gaming machine (also known as slot machines, jackpots, pokies or electronic gaming machines) at least once a month in the past 12 months or /and have social anxiety symptoms. If you are 18 years or older and have an adequate command of English you can participate.

To find potential participants, like you, I have advertised in social venues such as; shopping malls, social media (Facebook, Google and University websites), and various organisations such as; Phobic Trust, Gambling Anonymous, Salvation Army, Problem Gambling Foundation and word of mouth.

Your participation is entirely voluntary and you may decline the invitation to participate at any stage. If you choose not to participate, you can withdraw anytime during data collection.

However, once you have submitted your responses, they cannot be withdrawn from study as no information that could identify you will be collected.


If you choose to participate, you will be required to complete four questionnaires comprising the South Oaks Gambling Screen (SOGS), Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale (LSAS-SR), The Alcohol Use Disorders Identification test (AUDIT) and Depression, Anxiety and Stress scales (DASS-21). You will also be required to perform a computerized version of the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT). Completion of these should take approximately 20 minutes.


Data storage, retention, destruction and future use

The data collected will be encrypted and stored in a password secured university computer at the University of Auckland premises. No personal information will be stored. The information collected will be analyzed and written up within my thesis which will be freely available to access at the University of Auckland library. It is also my intention to publish this work in national and international journals and disseminate at conferences. The collected information will be deleted after 6 years of completion of study.


Anonymity and confidentiality

Anonymity and confidentiality will be maintained throughout the project. All data collected will be encrypted and stored in a password protected on-site university computer at the University of Auckland. Any personal information identifying participants will not be shared or published. Furthermore, the data will be viewed only by the researchers and kept confidential.

Contact details and approval


Student Researcher name and contact details

Supervisors name and contact details


Retina Rimal

Faculty of Medical Health Science

University of Auckland

Grafton campus

+64 9 373 7999



Dr Frederick Sundram

Auckland Hospital
Park Road
Auckland 1023
New Zealand


For any queries regarding ethical concerns you may contact the Chair, The University of Auckland Human Participants Ethics Committee, The University of Auckland, Research Office, Private Bag 92019, Auckland 1142. Telephone 09 373-7599 ext. 83711.



Approved by the University Of Auckland Human Participants Ethics Committee on 13/Sept/ 2016 for three years. Reference Number 017992.


I have read the participation information sheet, and have understood the nature of the research.  I am informed that Retina Rimal will utilize the data to to explore the association between social anxiety, electronic gaming machine play and decision making ability.