Gambling problems and comorbidity with alcohol use disorders in Chinese-, Korean-, and White-American college students


BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: This study examined gambling behaviors and the relationship between gambling problems and alcohol use disorders (AUDs) among Chinese-, Korean-, and White-American college students. METHODS: Participants were 678 (179 Chinese, 194 Korean, and 305 White; 50% female) 21-26 year-old (M = 22.0 ± 1.36) students attending one university in California. The South Oaks Gambling Screen was administered to assess gambling behavior and the Semi-Structured Assessment for the Genetics of Alcoholism was administered to diagnose lifetime AUDs. Chi-squares and multinomial logistic regressions were conducted to test our hypotheses. RESULTS: Rates of lifetime ever gambling and weekly gambling were similar across the three ethnic groups, but participation in five types of gambling behavior differed. Chinese had the highest rates of gambling problems followed by Koreans and then Whites. Univariate odds ratios determined being Chinese or Korean, being male, and having an AUD were risk factors for gambling problems. When stratified by gender and ethnicity, having an AUD was not related to gambling problems in women, but was strongly associated with gambling problems in Chinese and White men and modestly associated in Korean men. This was true despite low rates of AUDs in Chinese men. DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS: Gambling problems were strongly comorbid with AUDs in Chinese- and White-American men, and moderately comorbid in Korean-American men. No relationship of AUD with gambling problems was found in women. SCIENTIFIC SIGNIFICANCE: The results highlight the importance of assessing disaggregated Asian-American subgroups with respect to addictive behaviors and their comorbidity.

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