Gambling for sustainability: “Area boys” and gambling behaviour in Lagos, Nigeria


The present research combines quantitative and qualitative approaches to estimate the patterns of, and motivation for, gambling behaviour in a sample of "area boys" in Lagos, Nigeria. The participants (N = 189, age range = 18-32 years, mean age = 25.08years, S.D. = 3.76), recruited through the snowballing sampling technique, were requested to complete a self report anonymous questionnaire adapted from the DSM IV problem gambling criteria. Of these, 11 participants were randomly reselected to describe their gambling experiences during an oral in-depth interview. Adopting quantitative techniques, the results indicate that the large majority of the participants maintained a strong propensity towards gambling, as more than half gambled 3 or more times in a week. Regarding possible motivating risk factors for gambling behaviour, a thematic analysis of the qualitative interviews suggests the presence of economic desperation associated with hardship, reward salience/illusion, and the need to fit in with their peers. The possible implications of these findings in relation to the harm minimisation strategies are discussed.

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