Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Embargo Period

8-21-2014

Degree Program

Public Health

Degree Type

Master of Science (M.S.)

Year Degree Awarded

2014

Month Degree Awarded

September

Advisor Name

Edward

Advisor Middle Initial

J

Advisor Last Name

Stanek III

Abstract

Massachusetts passed legislation in the fall of 2012 to allow the construction of three casinos and a slot parlor in the state. The prevalence of problem gambling in the state and in areas where casinos will be constructed is of particular interest. The goal is to evaluate the change in prevalence after construction of the casinos, using a multi-mode address based sample survey. The objective of this thesis is to evaluate and describe ways of using statistical inference to estimates prevalence rates in finite populations. Four methods were considered in an attempt to evaluate the prevalence of problem gambling in the context of the gambling study. These methods were evaluated unconditionally and conditionally, controlling for gender, using mean square error (MSE) as a measure of accuracy. The simple mean, the post-stratified mean, the best linear unbiased predictor (BLUP), and the empirical best linear unbiased predictor (EBLUP) were considered in three examples.

Conditional analyses of a population with N=1,000 and a crude problem gambling rate of 1.5, samples of n=200 led to the simple mean and the post-stratified mean to perform better in certain situations, as measured by their low MSE values. When there are less females than expected in a sample, the post-stratified mean produces a lower mean MSE over the 10,000 simulations. When there are more females than expected in a sample, the simple mean produces a lower mean MSE over the 10,000 simulations. Conditional analysis provided more appropriate results than unconditional analysis.

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