Gambling behavior among Macau college and university students

Abstract

This survey investigated gambling behavior among Chinese students studying in Macau colleges and universities. It also aimed to examine the relationship between problem gambling, affect states and sensation seeking propensity.

A convenience sample of 999 students (370 men, 629 women) filled a self-administered questionnaire consisted of the Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI) (Ferris and Wynne in The Canadian problem gambling index: User manual. Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse, Toronto 2001a), the 8-item Brief Sensation Seeking Scale (BSSS-8) (Hoyle et al. Pers Individ Diff 32(3): 401–414, 2002), Bradburn’s Affect Balance Scale (BABS) (Bradburn in The structure of psychological well-being. Aldine, Chicago 1969) and questions on gambling activities. The response rate is 65%. Results indicate 32.3% (n = 323) of the survey participants wagered on mahjong (61.8%), soccer matches (40.2%), Mark Six lottery (37.2%), card games (28.1%), land-based casino gambling (13.1%), slot machines (7.5%) and online casino games (2.0%). The average monthly stake was MOP $411. Seeking entertainment (18.7%), killing time (12.5%) and peer influence (11.1%) were the three main reasons for gambling. Using the PGSI, 3.6 and 5.3% of the students could be identified as moderate-risk and problem gamblers respectively. Men were significantly more vulnerable to gambling problems (X2(1) = 35.00, p < 0.01) than women. Most of the problematic gamblers (76%) made their first bet before 14 years. The PGSI scores are significantly correlated with the BSSS-8 scores (r = 0.23, p < 0.01) but not with the overall ABS scores (r = −0.06, p > 0.05). The study findings inform campus prevention programs and future research.

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