Examining the presence of problem gambling awareness messages on college counseling center websites

Abstract

College students are more at-risk for developing a gambling problem than the general adult U.S. population. Information behavior and information seeking theories, as well as empirical evidence, indicate that one resource that may provide guidance for students dealing with this issue is the college counseling center website (CCW). This study addressed the presence and nature of problem gambling messages on CCWs. As a random sample, 203 CCWs were selected to assess how frequently they provided any information about problem gambling, as well as the specific types of communications CCWs offered on this topic. Results showed that CCWs rarely included any messages about problem gambling. Specifically, only 15% of all CCWs contained information about problem gambling. Furthermore, messages about problem gambling were presented significantly less frequently than messages involving alcohol abuse, substance abuse, depression, anxiety/stress, and psychological struggles with food. Given the prevalence of problem gambling among college students, as well as the value that college students place on information provided on CCWs, it is important that these sites offer more information concerning this issue.

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