Gambling problems in young people: Experience from the Asian region

Abstract

Purpose of review: To introduce the existing research conducted into gambling problems among young people in the Asian region. Recent findings: The prevalence rates of gambling-related problems of young people ranged from 32 to 60% for participation, from 1.5 to 5.0% for problem gambling and from 0.07 to 2.66% for pathological gambling in Asia; social gambling and lottery were the most popular gambling types. Psychiatric comorbidity is common among pathological gamblers, but the causal mechanisms are unclear. The psychological theories on youth gambling in Asia included diathesis, motivation, stress, coping, cognitive and positive youth development. The Positive Adolescent Training through Holistic Social Programmers has been developed; this aims to intervene and help those young people experiencing gambling problems in Hong Kong. Summary: Published gambling studies on young people in Asia are limited and have different definitions, research tools and diagnostic criteria. Therefore, the results vary and are incomparable. More work needs to be done in the near future, on comorbidity mechanisms, the neuropsychological and neurobiological mechanisms of youth gambling and, importantly, an increase in early intervention programmes.

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