Prevalence and correlates of youth gambling in Scotland

Abstract

The research had the purpose of establishing a baseline rate for the prevalence of youth problem gambling in Scotland. A cluster-design involved the distribution of questionnaires to youngsters in a classroom setting, with twelve schools from across Glasgow and North Lanarkshire participating in the research. A total of 2,043 youngsters aged between eleven and sixteen years of age (mean=13.7) participated in the study, with each participant obtained representing one hundred and ninety young people aged between eleven and sixteen across Scotland. Two questionnaires were employed in the study, with the first questionnaire being designed by the authors to investigate types, frequency and correlates of gambling, and the second being the DSM-IV-J (Fisher, 1992). The prevalence of problem gambling in this study was 9 percent, with a further 15.1 percent deemed to be at-risk gamblers. By far the most popular type of youth gambling was fruit machines, regardless of gambling group. The least popular gambling activity was Internet gambling, although alarmingly 12% of the sample indicated they had tried it within the previous year. The high rates of problem and at-risk gambling clearly highlights the popularity of gambling in modern society and moreover the need for appropriate intervention strategies aimed at youth problem gamblers, possibly as early as twelve years of age. Worryingly, treatment for problem gamblers is virtually non-existent in Scotland.

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