Serious physical fighting and gambling-related attitudes and behaviors in adolescents

Abstract

Background and aims: Physical fighting and gambling are common risk behaviors among adolescents. Prior studies have found associations among these behaviors in adolescents but have not examined systematically the health and gambling correlates of problem-gambling severity amongst youth stratified by fight involvement. Methods: Survey data were used from 2,276 Connecticut high school adolescents regarding their physical fight involvement, gambling behaviors and perceptions, and health and functioning. Gambling perceptions and correlates of problem-gambling severity were examined in fighting and non-fighting adolescents. Results: Gambling perceptions were more permissive and at-risk/problem gambling was more frequent amongst adolescents reporting serious fights versus those denying serious fights. A stronger relationship between problem-gambling severity and regular smoking was observed for adolescents involved in fights. Discussion and conclusions: The more permissive gambling attitudes and heavier gambling associated with serious fights in high school students suggest that youth who engage in physical fights warrant enhanced prevention efforts related to gambling. The stronger relationship between tobacco smoking and problem- gambling severity amongst youth engaging in serious fights suggest that fighting youth who smoke might warrant particular screening for gambling problems and subsequent interventions. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved) (journal abstract)

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