Gambling and problem gambling across the lifespan

Abstract

Two national {U.S.} telephone surveys of gambling were conducted, an adult survey (age 18 and over, N = 2,631) in 1999–2000 and a youth (age 14–21, N = 2,274) survey in 2005–2007. The data from these surveys were combined to examine the prevalence of any gambling, frequent gambling and problem gambling across the lifespan. These types of gambling involvement increased in frequency during the teens, reached a high level in the respondents' 20s and 30s, and then fell off in as the respondents aged. The notion that gambling involvement generally, and especially problem gambling, is most prevalent during the teens was not supported. A comparison of the age patterns of gambling involvement and alcohol involvement showed that alcohol involvement peaks at a younger age than gambling involvement; and thus, the theory that deviant behaviors peak at an early age applies more to alcohol than to gambling.

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