Effects of neighborhood disadvantage on problem gambling and alcohol abuse

Abstract

Background and aims: Based on social disorganization theory, the present study examined the effects of neighborhood disadvantage on gambling behaviors and problems as well as on alcohol use and abuse. Methods: Findings were based on a combined sample of two representative U.S. telephone surveys of gambling and substance use. One survey (n = 2,631) included adults 18 years and older and the second survey (2,274) included young people aged 14-21 years old. Results: Neighborhood disadvantage had a highly significant effect on problem gambling over and above the significant individual effects of gender, age, race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status. Alcohol abuse did not show the same relationship to neighborhood disadvantage as did problem gambling. Furthermore, when neighborhood disadvantage was high and individual socioeconomic status was low, the highest levels of problem gambling were observed. Conclusions: This study provides strong evidence for the effects of neighborhood ecology on the occurrence of problem gambling.

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