The prevalence of pathological gambling among college students: A meta-analytic synthesis, 2005–2013


The problem of gambling addiction can be especially noteworthy among college and university students, many of whom have the resources, proximity, free time, and desire to become involved in the myriad options of gambling now available. Although limited attention has been paid specifically to college student gambling in the body of literature, there have been two published meta-analyses estimating the prevalence of probable pathological gambling among college students. This present study aims to be the third, presenting an up-to-date proportion of those students exhibiting gambling pathology, and is the first to include international studies from outside the United States and Canada. The purpose of this study was to use the most up-to-date meta-analytical procedures to synthesize the rates of probable pathological gambling for college and university students worldwide. A thorough literature review and coding procedure resulted in 19 independent data estimates retrieved from 18 studies conducted between 2005 and 2013. To synthesize the studies, a random effects model for meta-analysis was applied. The estimated proportion of probable pathological gamblers among the over 13,000 college students surveyed was computed at 10.23 %, considerably higher than either of the two previously published meta-analyses, and more than double the rate reported in the first meta-analysis of this type published in 1999. Implications and recommendations for future practice in dealing with college students and gambling addiction are outlined and described for both administrators and mental health professionals.

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