Parents’ perception of youth gambling and other risk behaviors: Comparison between Croatian and Canadian parents

Abstract

A growing body of international literature demonstrates how, besides individual risk factors, parents, peers and accessibility of gambling venues have an important role in explaining prevalence of youth gambling and gambling related problems. Recent studies conducted in Croatia identified significantly higher prevalence rates of youth gambling and gambling related problems compared to other international jurisdictions (e.g., Canada), which may be attributed to social differences and recent liberalization of gambling market. This research compares how parents from Croatia and Canada perceive youth gambling in relation to other youth risk behaviors, as well as their reactions if their child had a gambling problem. The sample consists of 2.710 parents from Canada (m=31.2% ; f=68.8%) and 770 parents from Croatia (m=36.8% ; f=63.2%). Parallel forms of instruments were used to assess parents’ perception and concerns related to multiple youth risk behaviors, the frequency of parents communicating with their child about these risks, as well as potential reactions if their child developed a gambling problem. Results of MANOVA (country by gender) indicate more significant effects of gender on perceived seriousness of all risk behaviors except youth gambling, where the impact of the country are strongest. Parents from Croatia perceive gambling problems amongst youth to be r much more of a serious problem than Canadian parents. The results will be discussed in accordance with previous research in the field, social and societal differences and the specific context of gambling market in each country.

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