Religious and spiritual predictors of gambling participation and gambling problems among college students


The present study used structural equation modeling to assess spiritual and religious predictors of gambling problems and gambling participation. College students from state and religiously affiliated schools reported on their gambling participation and problems, as well as their spirituality, religious behavior and degree of religious affiliation. Additionally, participants reported their perceptions regarding peer gambling behavior, peer gambling approval, and church member gambling approval. The results indicated higher spirituality predicted fewer gambling problems, but only for women. Peer approval of gambling and church member approval of gambling predicted higher gambling frequency. Peer approval of gambling also predicted more gambling problems. Peer and church member approval of gambling completely mediated the relationships between religiosity and church affiliation and gambling frequency and problems. These same relationships were partially mediated for spirituality. Religious variables were predictive of gambling frequency and problems until peer and church member approval were included as mediators. These findings suggest that religious variables influence gambling primarily in an indirect way by influencing peer groups or perceptions of peer approval.

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