Beliefs and attitudes of mental health professionals with respect to gambling and other high risk behaviors in schools


Studies have shown that mental health service provider perceptions of problems and knowledge of resources are among the largest determinants of service provision and referral. The current study aims at exploring mental health professionals' awareness of, attitudes towards and beliefs regarding high-risk behaviors in youth, including gambling. Child psychologists, social workers, and psychoeducators (n = 649) responded to an online survey. Findings revealed that problem gambling was viewed by most professionals as the least serious adolescent risk behavior, and few reported feeling confident in their abilities to deal with youth with gambling problems. However, the majority of professionals felt that they have a significant role to play in the prevention of youth gambling problems, and many endorsed strong interest in receiving continuing education in the prevention, identification, and treatment of problem gambling. Results highlight the importance of continued efforts in increasing awareness regarding youth problematic gambling, as well as the need for greater continuing education training on adolescent gambling for mental health professionals.

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