Problem gambling in Chinese American adolescents: Characteristics and risk factors

Abstract

This preliminary study examined the characteristics and risk factors of problem gambling among Chinese American adolescents. A total of 192 Chinese American students (aged 13-19) from 9th to 12th grades were recruited from three high schools in San Francisco, California. Students were administered the South Oaks Gambling Screen Revised for Adolescents (SOGS-RA) and a questionnaire that inquired about demographics, gambling behaviors, substance use, video game playing, and other related domains. This study found that estimated past-year prevalence rate among this adolescent group was 10.92 %, much higher than the rates reported by several national studies, which ranged from 2 % to 6 %. The findings here provide evidence to support ethnic minority status as an important factor associated with problem gambling. Interestingly, there were no gender differences in the rates of at-risk problem gambling (SOG-RA scores 2 and 3), but adolescent males did evidence greater severity than females (scores 4 and above). An urge to win money was reported as the main reason for gambling. Video games playing and substance use was positively associated with problem gambling. Other risk factors commonly found to be associated with problem gambling were not found to be significant, including poor academic performance, having a parent who gambles, and early involvement in gambling. These findings indicate that problem gambling may manifest itself differently in ethnic minority communities and needs to be better understood. Clinical and research implications of the findings are discussed.

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