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Research based prevention strategies for youth: What works? . Jeffrey L. Derevensky, Ph.D. International Centre for Youth Gambling Problems and High-Risk Behaviors McGill University Singapore Problem Gambling Conference July, 2007 www.youthgambling.com.

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Research based prevention strategies for youth: What works?

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Research based prevention strategies for youth: What works?

Jeffrey L. Derevensky, Ph.D.

International Centre for Youth Gambling Problems and High-Risk Behaviors

McGill University

Singapore Problem Gambling Conference

July, 2007

www.youthgambling.com


Gambling/gaming has become normalized in our society


What do we mean by gambling prevention?

  • Prevention programs are developed to reduce the likelihood of problematic gambling

  • Prevention can target different subsets of populations or special population groups


Prevention can occur on three levels:

  • Primary prevention: targeting intervention to individuals who have not experienced a gambling problem.

  • Secondary prevention: targeting intervention to individuals exhibiting risky behaviors, inappropriate attitudes, and erroneous gambling cognitions.

  • Tertiary prevention: treatment of those individuals currently experiencing a serious gambling problem.


Prevention Issues

  • Abstinence

  • Harm reduction/minimization


Lessons learned from research on youth substance abuse……


Substance Abuse Prevention

  • Focused around two concepts:

    • risk & protection – and their interaction (Centre for Substance Abuse Prevention, 1999)

  • Protective factors balance and buffer risk and ultimately lessen the likelihood of engaging in risk-taking behaviors or buffer exposure to problems(Hawkins, Catalano, & Miller, 1992)

  • Shift in focused prevention to focus on resiliency(Garmezy & Streitman, 1974; Garmezy & Masten, 1986; Lussier, Derrevensky & Gupta, in press; Luthar, 1992; Jessor, 1998; Rutter, 1979; Werner, 1986)

  • Education (Derevensky & Gupta, 1998a, 1999; 2006; Gupta & Derevensky, 1999, 2000)


Gambling Prevention

Prevention through risk-reduction

  • individual

  • family

  • peer and social contexts

  • community context

  • Risk-reduction by enhancing protective factors

    • attributes of the individual

    • family support

    • environmental support

  • Using schools as a basis for prevention through promotion of social/personal competence


  • Goals of prevention

    • Improve knowledge

    • Increase awareness

    • Change inappropriate attitudes and/or encourage positive attitudes

    • Correct false cognitions, understandings, erroneous beliefs (odds, skill vs. luck, strategies, superstitions)

    • Behavior- prevent occurrence of excessive gambling - decrease/reduce excessive gambling patterns of behavior


    Learning objectives

    • References to gambling within the context of perceived skill vs. luck. Gambling is primarily driven by chance. Teach youth through ‘hands-on’ activities which contrast skill and luck.

    • Teach children that time and money is better spent on other activities or purchases.

    • Present the negative consequences of a gambling dependency and the positive consequences of making good decisions.


    Learning objectives

    • Increase problem-solving skills.

    • Increase feelings of self-confidence.

    • Improve coping skills.

    • Teach individuals to make good decisions for themselves in the face of peer pressure and social temptations.

      Note: Each level of prevention should be developmentally appropriate. Not all objectives are addressed at all levels.


    Examples of learning objectives (specific)

    • Introduce children to the notion of dependency and loss of control using concrete, familiar examples. These are then presented within a gambling context.

    • Review other activities that can lead to a dependency (smoking, alcohol, drugs) and add gambling as another form of potential addictive behavior.

    • Communicate that gambling problems can happen to anyone, including youth.


    Current Prevention Efforts


    Brochure targeting adolescents

    • Educate teenagers on the risks involved in gambling

    • Challenge certain myths about gambling

    • Includes a self-evaluation questionnaire and centre’s coordinates to get help

    • Distributed upon request and into schools visited


    Screening cards for teenagers

    • Self-evaluation

    • Try to ensure students retain our coordinates


    Poster contest

    • Raise awareness about youth gambling problems in the schools

    • Winning posters printed and distributed to all high-schools


    “The true colors of gambling”


    Mouse pads for school psychologists and counsellors

    • Raise awareness and ensure they have our coordinates

    • Distributed to schools visited


    Elementary and High School Curriculum

    Teacher manuals


    • Identifying personal risk and attitudes toward gambling

    • Distinguishing responsible gambling behaviors

    • Illusion of control + personal risk characteristics = risk for the development of a gambling problem

    • Superstitious behaviors

    • Knowing oneself and establishing limits

    • Information on self-screening and how to get help


    • Importance of having a positive self-image

    • Importance of friends as potential models

    • Many people influence us but we are still responsible for our own decisions

    • Peer pressure and how to resist by evaluating potential consequences

    • Concerns re: transition to high school are addressed


    • It is important to start targeting children at a young age.

    • Our research indicates significant increases in gambling behaviors beginning at age 9 and 10. As a result, early interventions continuing through high school are most effective.


    • Children have the right to learn about the possible dangers inherent in excessive gambling.


    CD Rom

    Teacher manuals


    CD-ROM

    • Two levels: elementary/junior high and secondary

    • Self-administered but supervised by teacher (teacher manual included)

    • Information and education

    • Raising awareness in children and adolescents about the risks involved in gambling


    • Two types of activities

      • “Gambling”: The player loses more than he wins and he is reinforced when quitting the activity

      • “Skill”: The player receives accurate information on gambling and some attitudes and erroneous beliefs are challenged.

        ► Protective factors


    Amazing Chateau


    Hooked City


    Workshops - schools

    • Elementary and High-School level

    • Highly Interactive

      ► Targeted intervention

    • Themes: Gambling definition, at-risk people, chance and independance of events, addiction, warning signs, help resources, stress management, coping, problem-solving skills, etc.

    • Requested by schools


    Did you know…….

    Gambling in adolescence:

    The facts you need to know


    Any game of chance or skill that involves financial risk.

    • Lottery tickets

    • Cards for money (poker, blackjack)

    • Sports betting (sports pools)

    • VLT (video lottery terminals)

    • Bingo

    • Casino games


    • 4% of adolescents have a gambling addiction.

    • In every class of 25, 1 student would have this addiction.

    • Most are boys, but girls can also have a serious problem.


    What type of person is more likely to develop this problem?

    • Gambling pulls kids in from all types of families, economic backgrounds, ethnic groups, and religious faiths.

    No one is immune


    Enjoyment

    Excitement

    To win money

    Escape problems

    Feel important

    Feel alive

    Be careful


    H T H T H H H

    • Which of the following represents the GREATEST ODDS for the three next coin flips:

      A) T T H

      B) H H H

      C) T H T

      D) T T T

      E) None of the above

      F) Any of the above


    :

    /

    2, 10, 18, _, _, _

    • Which of the following three numbers would provide us with greater chances of winning the 6/49 lottery?

      A) 19, 20, 21

      B) 27, 39, 44

      C) 23, 33, 43

      D) 20, 30, 40

      E) None of the above

      F) Any of the above


    Answers

    :

    Each flip of a coin is independent from the others, so each has equal odds of occurring

    Each number on the ticket is independent from the other. 1 2 3 4 5 6 has as much chance of winning as any other sequence. Picking your own numbers does not increase your chances of winning.

    :

    :

    /


    Can’t think of anything else but doing drugs

    Need more and more to maintain a high

    Will do drugs at any cost

    Can’t stop even if they want to

    Lying and stealing in order to keep doing drugs

    Drugs help them escape life’s problems..allows them to forget

    Consequences: failing grades, problems with friends and family, risk of ending up in a detention center or jail

    Can’t think of anything else but gambling

    Need to gamble more and more $ to maintain a high

    Will gamble at any cost

    Can’t stop even if they want to

    Lying and stealing in order to keep gambling

    Gambling help them escape life’s problems..allows them to forget

    Consequences: failing grades, problems with friends and family, risk of ending up in a detention center or jail

    Drug Gambling addiction addiction


    • You’re constantly thinking about gambling

    • You’re lying to friends and family about your gambling

    • You’re borrowing and stealing in order to gamble


    • A gambling addiction can be devastating. With help, people who are hooked on gambling can learn to stop.

    • Without professional help, they will risk losing everything…maybe even their lives.


    • While most children and adolescents start gambling for fun, some end up with a serious gambling problem.

    • BE CAREFUL. This is an addictive pastime and you can get hooked before you know it. If you feel you must gamble from time to time, do it with moderation. Set limits, and respect those limits.


    What type of person is more likely to develop this problem?

    • Gambling pulls kids in from all types of families, economic backgrounds, ethnic groups, and religious faiths.

    No one is immune


    Clean Break


    Part I:

    Part I:

    General questions about gambling and

    problem-gambling

    General questions about gambling and

    problem-gambling

    _______________________________________


    What are the characteristics of a gambling

    addiction? How would you describe it?

    What are the characteristics of a gambling

    addiction? How would you describe it?

    ______________________________________

    • Loss of control – can’t stop or respect self-imposed limits.

    • Preoccupation.

    • Serious personal and social consequences.

    • Financial problems.

    • Illegal acts.

    • What else?


    What kinds of gambling activities can result in a

    gambling addiction?

    What kinds of gambling activities can result in a gambling addiction?

    ______________________________________

    • scratch cards.

    • sports betting.

    • poker, blackjack.

    • bingo.

    • roulette.

    • gambling machines.


    What are some of the warning signs that a

    person’s gambling is spinning out of control?

    What are some of the warning signs that a

    person’s gambling is spinning out of control?

    ______________________________________

    • Change in personality.

    • Withdrawing from normal activities.

    • Lying, fabricating stories and creating excuses.

    • Gambling more than they can afford to.

    • Gambling more and more frequently.

    • School/work absenteeism.


    What is it about gambling activities that makes

    us want to keep playing despite losing so often?

    What is it about gambling activities that makes

    us want to keep playing despite losing so often?

    _________________________________________

    • Intermittent reinforcement:

    • Winning interspersed within losing outcomes,

    • creates the feeling that if you keep playing,

    • you will eventually win.

    • Misperception that gambling is an easy way to make money.


    What is it about gambling activities that makes

    us want to keep playing despite losing so often?

    What is it about gambling activities that makes

    us want to keep playing despite losing so often?

    _________________________________________

    • Erroneous cognitions and an illusion of control:

    • The belief that one can create a system or uncover

    • secrets that will result in big wins.

    • Reinforcing factors, such as excitement and escape

    • associated with gambling.


    Part II: Questions specific to gambling scenarios


    What do you think the main message of the video is?

    ________________________________________

    Which scenarios were most effective in

    communicating a message?

    ________________________________________

    What emotions were triggered when watching the video?

    ________________________________________


    If you could ask Did anything,

    what would that be?

    _________________________________

    If you could sit down and talk to any of the

    characters in this video, which one would it be?

    ________________________________________

    What would you want to know about them?

    ______________________________________________________________


    Caroline and Marc

    Caroline and Marc

    _____________________________________

    • Why is Caroline so upset?

    • Do you think this is the first time Marc upset her like that?

    • What makes you believe that?

    • Has Marc lost her trust? Can and should Caroline trust him?

    • What do you think Marc will decide to do?

    • (stop or keep on gambling)?


    Sabrina and Chantal

    _______________________

    Sabrina and Chantal

    • Do you think Chantal did the right thing by giving Sabrina

    • an ultimatum?

    • How can she help Sabrina?

    • What do you think Sabrina is thinking about on the bridge?

    • Do you think she went there for a particular reason?


    Sophie and Samuel

    Sophie and Samuel

    _____________________________________

    • What is the impact of Samuel’s parents’ problems on him?

    • Is his gambling the only obvious consequence,

    • or is it more extensive than that?

    • What was Samuel’s breaking point?

    • What do you think made him decide to try to put an end to his gambling?

    • Is calling a helpline helpful? If so, how? What else could he do?

    • Do you think it’s possible for him to stop gambling even

    • if his friends keep gambling?


    Why do certain individuals develop gambling problems while others do not?________________________________________

    • People gamble for different reasons. Individuals who have not developed gambling problems report playing primarily for entertainment and to test their luck. They don’t necessarily believe that they can win but rather set aside a certain amount of money for leisure activities that they feel they can afford to lose. In contrast, individuals with a gambling problem report gambling to escape their problems, to feel important, or to feel alive. They have difficulty setting limits (time, money) and believe they can recoup gambling losses by developing strategies to predict the outcome.


    Are all people at risk for a gambling problem?_____________________________

    • The answer to this question is controversial. Anyone can develop a gambling addiction in the same way that anyone can develop an alcohol problem. It is true that certain circumstances and personal traits can increase one’s risks. However, it is important for adolescents to recognize that they are not immune, and that young people from all walks of life do experience serious gambling-related problems.


    What should I do if someone I love, a friend, family member or myself has a gambling problem?_____________________________

    • Anyone struggling with a gambling problem should be surrounded by a social support network and they should be encouraged to seek professional help. Family members and friends can play an important supportive role by not enabling their gambling, being available to engage them in alternate activities, and ensuring that they are emotionally supported.


    Closing questions

    _____________________________________

    Closing questions

    • What can help prevent the development of gambling problems?

    • What factors can lead to the development of a gambling problem?

    • What are the indications that someone has lost control over their

    • gambling behavior?


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