The prevalence of problem gambling among substance abusing offenders

Abstract

Research suggests that problem gambling is associated with substance and alcohol abuse, criminal activity, and involvement in the criminal justice system. The present study assessed the lifetime prevalence of pathological and problem gambling among a population in which these risk factors are compounded, specifically adults mandated to participate in drug court. A sample of 602 participants completed the South Oaks Gambling Screen. Nearly 72% of the participants were male, and the majority identified as White (53%) or Black (37%). Results indicated that the prevalence and severity of problem gambling may be elevated within this population. Over 30% of respondents were assessed as probable pathological or problem gamblers (20.1% and 10.3%, respectively), and 22% as being at low risk. Results suggest that problem gambling is a salient issue among substance-abusing offenders. Resources should be dedicated to screening and developing evidence based best practices for the prevention and treatment of problem gambling.

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