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THE METHODOLOGICAL STATE OF RESEARCH ON GAMBLING AMONG ADOLESCENTS ABSTRACT

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THE METHODOLOGICAL STATE OF RESEARCH ON

GAMBLING AMONG ADOLESCENTS

ABSTRACT

As opportunities for legalized gambling continue to increase in the United States, researchers are recognizing the need for an increasing amount of research into the development, prevention, and treatment of disordered gambling. The primary goal of this project is to provide an overview of the extent of the problem and how research in this field is currently being conducted, including some issues that need to be addressed. Recent research has shown that gambling and problems with gambling are far from being exclusive to adults. As it becomes increasingly important to ask more complicated questions about adolescent gambling development, prevention, and treatment, it also becomes increasingly critical to employ sound methodology in this task. Three important methodological aspects of the state of research on gambling among adolescents are reviewed. These include available datasets, measures that are typically used, and analysis techniques.

  • GAMBLING PARTICIPATION and EXTENT OF THE PROBLEM
  • Gambling problems are related to a host of other negative outcomes:
    • Suicide
    • Work and educational disruption
    • Arrest and delinquent behavior
    • Financial difficulties
    • Familial disruption
    • Substance use
    • Eating disorders
    • Depression
    • Anxiety
    • Risky sexual behavior
    • Popularity perception
  • Demographic risk factors of developing problem and pathological gambling include being:
    • Male
    • Younger (age 30 or younger)
    • Racial/ethnic minority
    • Unmarried
    • Less than high school education
    • Lower income

ADOLESCENTS

  • RESEARCH OBJECTIVES
  • Provide a brief overview of the:
    • Prevalence of gambling and problem and pathological gambling among the general adult and adolescent populations of the U.S.
    • State of data collection in the U.S., including the availability of cross-sectional and longitudinal data on adolescent gambling behavior and development
    • Most popular measures of problem gambling behavior used with adolescents and common data analysis techniques
    • Problem gambling prevention programs for adolescents and references for more information on the state of research on gambling and problem gambling prevention
  • GAMBLING AVAILABILITY
  • Most Americans live within a four hour drive of a casino
  • Internet provides access to a wide variety of gambling activities 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year
  • ADOLESCENT PREVENTION
  • Current prevention and treatment programs for problem and pathological gambling are often based on those designed for alcohol and other substance use
  • Programs include:
    • Deal Me In: Gambling Trigger Video and Posters (Svendsen, 2000)
    • Facing the Odds: The Mathematics of Gambling (Shaffer et al., 1996)
    • Improving Your Odds (Svendsen & Griffin, 1996)
    • Wanna Bet? Preventing Adolescent Compulsive Gambling (MCCP, NATI)

Keith Whyte

National Council on

Problem Gambling

Linda M. Collins

The Methodology Center

Penn State

Bethany Cara Bray

The Methodology Center

Penn State

  • METHODOLGY
  • DATA
  • “The greatest gap in our understanding of problem and pathological gambling comes from the lack of longitudinal studies in this field.” (Volberg, 2004)
  • Cross-sectional Datasets:
    • ADD Health: questions at the 3rd wave (potentially longitudinal)
    • National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NIAAA)
    • Gambling Impact and Behavior Study (NORC, University of Chicago)
    • Survey of Problem Gambling in the Metropolitan Detroit Area (Wong et al.)
  • Longitudinal Datasets:
    • Longitudinal study of problem gamblers in the community (New Zealand)
    • Risks and Correlates of Pathological Gambling Among Women (NORC)
    • Longitudinal adolescent gambling survey (Winters, 2002)
    • Minnesota Twin Family Study: 2 waves for females, 1 wave for males
  • MEASURES
  • Limitations: psychometric properties of most new tools and their differential performance in different settings remain unexamined
  • South Oaks Gambling Screen (Lesieur & Blume, 1987)
    • Originally developed to screen for gambling problems in clinical populations
    • Most widely used screening tool for problem and pathological gambling (U.S.)
    • Based on DSM-III criteria
  • DSM-IV criteria for pathological gambling
  • Screens for adolescents include:
    • South Oaks Gambling Screen-Revised for Adolescents (Winters, Stinchfield, & Fulkerson, 1993)
    • DSM-IV-J (Fisher, 2000)
    • Massachusetts Gambling Screen (Shaffer et al., 1994)

ANALYSIS TECHNIQUES

  • The usual suspects: correlation and regression
  • Epidemiological measures: odds ratios
  • Longitudinal methods: trend analysis, prediction analysis, transition probabilities
  • Legalized gambling available in 48 of 50 states
    • Exceptions: Utah and Hawaii
  • Approximately 7% of adolescents aged 14 to 18 have gambled on the Internet
  • Pathological gamblers in treatment report gambling onset between 10 and 12 years of age

Contact: Bethany Cara Bray, bcbray@psu.edu. This research was supported by NIDA Center Grant: P50-DA-10075.