Teacher awareness and attitudes regarding adolescent risky behaviours: Is adolescent gambling perceived to be a problem?

Abstract

Despite legislative prohibitions, there is empirical evidence that youth gamble on both regulated and unregulated activities. The current survey was designed to assess teachers’ awareness and attitudes regarding adolescent gambling and other high-risk behaviours. Three-hundred and ninety teachers from Ontario and Quebec, with experience teaching students aged 12–18, completed an online survey. Results suggest that teachers are aware of the fact that youth gamble. Furthermore, they recognized the addictive nature of gambling and their subsequent consequences. Despite overestimating the proportion of youth experiencing gambling problems, gambling was viewed as being the least serious of issues affecting youth, with drug use and school violence topping the list. Almost half of respondents indicated that gambling in school can constitute a good learning activity. In regards to prevention, all other risky behaviours and academic problems were perceived as issues needing greater attention than gambling. These results, which are largely consistent with findings from a previous study examining parental perceptions of adolescent risky behaviours, suggest a need for greater awareness and teacher education.

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