Social influences involved in children’s gambling behavior

Abstract

Children (N = 130) in grades 4 and 6 from various schools in the Greater Montreal Region completed a questionnaire concerning their gambling behavior and played a computer-simulated roulette game individually (baseline trial & post-test trial) and in groups (same and mixed gender dyads or triads: group trial). The purpose of this design was to measure children's betting behavior (via average wagers) and to determine if any changes in betting occur as a result of playing in groups of two, three, same and/or different gender peers. Results of repeated measures analyses reveal that during individual and group play, males consistently exhibit higher average wagers than females. Average wagers of females and mixed gender groupings appear to be most affected by the group condition. Females were found to increase their average wagers when playing with females and males. Female dyads' wagers increase significantly during group play, indicating they are dramatically affected by the group game. Most changes resulting from group play were generally maintained over a relatively short period of time in the post-test condition. Results are interpreted with respect to the importance of the influence of the peer group on children's gambling behavior. Future directions for research are suggested.

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