Prevalence rates of youth gambling problems: Are the current rates inflated?

Abstract

While there is a general consensus in the literature that it is common for youth to gamble, considerable variability in the reported prevalence rates of youth problem gambling has been found. More recently, issues concerning the possible overestimation of these rates have been raised. Arguments underlying the proposition that problem gambling rates for youth are inflated are examined. It is acknowledged that more rigorous research is required, including the need for the development and refinement of current adolescent instruments and screening tools, agreement upon a gold standard criterion for adolescent problem gambling, and clarity of nomenclature issues. The advancement of scientific knowledge concerning the underlying risk factors associated with the onset and course of youth gambling involvement and the role of effective adolescent prevention and treatment programs will require these fundamental research questions to be addressed.

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