Aims: This study aims to explore the associations between final compulsory school grades and gambling and their relation to substance use and perceived mental health among people aged 18–29 in Finland (N = 831).
Methods: Cross-sectional random sample data, weighted on the basis of age, gender and region of residence, were collected in 2015. The data were analysed using logistic regression models adjusted for sociodemographic variables, risky alcohol use, daily smoking, and perceived mental health.
Results: Weekly gambling and at-risk and problem gambling (ARPG) were more common among men. Weekly gambling was linked to smoking and risky alcohol use among men and smoking among women. Additionally, ARPG was linked to risky alcohol use among men. ARPG was associated with moderate/poor mental health among men and women, but this was not the case with weekly gambling. Among men, low and average final school grades at age 16 were associated with weekly gambling later in life, even when adjusting for other variables. Among women, low and average final school grades were not associated with weekly gambling when adjusting for substance use. Lower final school grades were associated with ARPG among women but not among men when all potential confounders were adjusted for.
Conclusions: Adolescents with lower final school grades are more likely to gamble weekly later in life. Lower final school grades are also linked with ARPG among women. It is important therefore for schools to have clear policies on gambling and to implement early prevention programmes.