A descriptive study of gambling among emerging adult males in French-speaking Switzerland

Abstract

The aims were twofold: to examine the gambling habits of emerging adult males in the French-speaking regions of Switzerland and to what extent these habits predict problem gambling within this population. We also evaluated problem gambling rates and provided data concerning variables such as gambling location, level of information about problem gambling and awareness of treatment centers. 606 Swiss male conscripts, aged 18-22 years, completed a self-report questionnaire. This was administered during their army recruitment day in 2012. Problem gambling was assessed through the Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI) (Ferris and Wynne 2001). 78.5% of the respondents were lifetime gamblers, 56.1% were past-year gamblers. Four out of ten past-year gamblers played in private spaces and in back rooms. The PGSI indicated that 10.8% of past-year gamblers presented with moderate gambling problems, whilst 1.4% appeared to be problem gamblers. The majority of respondents had never received information about problem gambling. Moreover, they were unaware of the existence of treatment centers for problem gambling in their region. PGSI scores were significantly predicted by the variety of games played. Problem gambling rates among young men appear to be higher than those of the general Swiss population. This confirms that emerging adult males are a particularly vulnerable population with regards to gambling addiction. The implications of this are considered for youth gambling-prevention programs.

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