Assessment challenges and determinants of adolescents’ adverse psychosocial consenquences of gambling

Abstract

This paper discusses a segment of results of the research project titled "Habits and characteristics of adolescent gambling in Croatian urban areas". The research was conducted in 2011 in four regional centers (Zagreb, Osijek, Rijeka, and Split) and has had a reach of 1948 students, which make a representative sample of the population targeted in the project. The respondents' age ranges from 14 to 20, with a mean of 16.56 (SD=1.164). The aims of this paper are as follows: 1) to offer a review and comparison of leading measures used for assessing the risks of youth gambling; 2) to determine the extent to which the damaging consequences of youth gambling appear in Croatian high-school students, especially with regard to gender; 3) to investigate the way in which certain personality traits, ways of thinking and behaving, beliefs, motivations and behaviors related to gambling, and frequency of gambling contribute to the intensity of gambling-related adverse psychosocial consequences. In order to achieve these aims, an extensive battery of instruments has been used. The paper finds that a substantial proportion of high-school students (12.3%) already feel serious psychosocial consequences of gambling, and that these consequences are unequally distributed across genders, with young men being the population that is more greatly affected. This finding led to a testing of the third hypothesis on the sample of young men only, using hierarchical regression analysis. The results indicate that the best predictors of more severe gambling-related problems include the frequency of gambling, continuation of gambling in the wake of winning, the experience of winning a larger amount of money, and specific motivation for gambling. Finally, the results were interpreted in relation to relevant research and in relation to social circumstances.

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