Do gambling activity patterns predict gambling problems? A latent class analysis of gambling forms among Australian youth

Abstract

Although gambling frequency and easy access to gambling are predictive of gambling problems among young people, little is known about their patterns of gambling activities. The current study investigated the gambling patterns of a large sample of youth {(N} = 1061) using latent class analysis. Six activity classes of young gamblers were identified: rare, lottery/scratch card, broad ranging, pool, unrestricted access and heavy gamblers. The classes differed significantly on age, gender, number and type of gambling activities, gambling frequency, problem gambling and amount spent on gambling. In addition, the relationship between problem gambling and the amount spent differed across classes. The results indicate the value of assessing gambling patterns as well as gambling frequency in research examining problem gambling. Although older youth have more opportunity to legally engage in a wider range of gambling activities, young people's gambling activity patterns are more indicative of potential gambling problems than age. Although gambling frequency and easy access to gambling are predictive of gambling problems among young people, little is known about their patterns of gambling activities. The current study investigated the gambling patterns of a large sample of youth {(N} = 1061) using latent class analysis. Six activity classes of young gamblers were identified: rare, lottery/scratch card, broad ranging, pool, unrestricted access and heavy gamblers. The classes differed significantly on age, gender, number and type of gambling activities, gambling frequency, problem gambling and amount spent on gambling. In addition, the relationship between problem gambling and the amount spent differed across classes. The results indicate the value of assessing gambling patterns as well as gambling frequency in research examining problem gambling. Although older youth have more opportunity to legally engage in a wider range of gambling activities, young people's gambling activity patterns are more indicative of potential gambling problems than age.

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