Gambling involvement and drug use among adolescents


The literature on youth gambling often notes the relationship of gambling involvement to drug use. The extent of this association and its importance toward advancing knowledge about the origins and course of adolescent gambling are discussed. The authors contend that (a) adolescent gambling, like drug use, may be a normal part of adolescence from a statistical perspective, (b) claims that the prevalence rate of problem/pathological gambling is comparable or higher than the rate of substance use disorders are not supportable at this time given the weaker methodological studies in the gambling area, (c) while research suggests that similar risk factors may be important determinants for both behavior domains, prospective studies of adolescent development are needed to further clarify which factors are unique and common to adolescent gambling, and (d) greater documentation of the harm associated with adolescent gambling is a major barrier to garnering more prevention and treatment resources for this issue.

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