Prevalence of pathological gambling in Lebanese students

Abstract

Introduction: Pathological gambling is a behavioral dependency on hazard games that is classified, in the DSM-IV, among impulse control disorders. According to many studies, the international prevalence of pathological ranges between 2 and 6%. This disorder is often accompanied by a considerable impact on patients' life as well as on the life of people surrounding them. Adolescents and young adults are considered to be a population at risk to develop this kind of behavioral dependency. The problem of pathological gambling is one of the major problems from which the Lebanese population of university students in Lebanese society suffers. The prevalence of pathological gambling in the Lebanese population of university students is lacking from the contemporary medical literature. Materials and methods: In our study, five of the biggest private universities in Lebanon (Notre-Dame University of Louaize [NDU], Lebanese American University [LAU], American University of Beirut [AUB], Saint-Joseph University [USJ] and Holy Spirit University of Kaslik [USEK]) were surveyed. Each questionnaire was based essentially on the South Oaks Gambling Screen (SOGS). Results: Four hundred and seventy-seven questionnaires were completed in these universities. Among the 477 students that completed the questionnaire, 5.87% appeared to be suffering from pathological gambling; 25.15% of responding students presented some problems related to gambling while the rest of them, corresponding to 68.92%, had no problems related to gambling. Conclusion: This is the first study of its kind conducted in the Lebanon. Its interest lies in that it offers an important evaluation of the prevalence of pathological gambling in the Lebanese population of university students. According to this study, the prevalence of pathological gambling in Lebanese university students is high. Prevention programs and sensitization strategies are needed in order to prevent the occurrence of this disorder in the Lebanese young. More studies are needed in this domain in order to evaluate precisely the prevalence of pathological gambling in Lebanese university students.

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