Measuring gambling knowledge in adolescents: The construction of a new short scale for research and practice.

Available online Research article from Mental Health and Addiction Research via Open Access Text.

Abstract: Several studies show that many adolescents gamble and a considerable proportion of them develop pathological gambling behavior. It has been shown that adolescents often have erroneous gambling knowledge, for example they are not aware of the technical definition of gambling activities or perceive gambling as a social and recreational activity. Nevertheless, nowadays there is a lack of measurement tools with adequate psychometric properties to assess gambling knowledge in adolescents. For this reason, the aim of the present study was to develop a new instrument able to evaluate this specific construct with a sample of Italian adolescents, the Gambling Related Knowledge Scale – For Adolescents (GRKS-A). In order to develop the scale and test its psychometric properties, 445 Italian adolescents participated in the study. The final version of the scale was composed of 8 items. Analyses confirmed the adequacy of the one-factor model and the reliability of this short scale. Support for the validity was also provided by obtaining significant and negative correlations with cognitive distortions, gambling economic perception, and gambling frequency. Moreover, the additional predictive power of GRKS-A on gambling frequency – with respect to the other variables – was demonstrated. Overall, findings support the suitability of the GRKS-A to measure gambling-related knowledge in research and practice involving adolescents. Full article

Reference: Donati, M.A., Beccari, C., Biganzoli, A., Tadini, M., Capitanucci, D., Smaniotto, R., & Primi, C. (2019). Measuring gambling knowledge in adolescents: The construction of a new short scale for research and practice. Mental Health and Addiction Research, 4. doi: 10.15761/MHAR.1000173


Gambling disorder in adolescents: what do we know about this social problem and its consequences? [open access article]

Abstract: Gambling disorder (GD) is a psychiatric condition and it is characterized by a maladaptive pattern of gambling behavior that persists despite negative consequences in major areas of life functioning. In Italy, CNR (National Research Council) underlined how over 17 million, 42.8% of the population aged 15–64 have a gambling behavior. Among them, there are over one million students, aged 15–19, equal to 44.2% of Italian students; the number of minors in Italy with GD in 2017 was 580,000, equal to 33.6%. Access full article

Pietro Ferrara, Giulia Franceschini and Giovanni Corsello. (2018). Italian Journal of Pediatrics, 44:146.

Prevalence, risk factors, and psychosocial adjustment of problematic gambling in adolescents: Results from two representative German samples [open access article]

Journal of Behavioral Addictions: DOI: 10.1556/2006.7.2018.37

Abstract: Background and aims
Gambling disorder is a significant public health concern. Especially, male minors have been shown to gamble in a problematic way, despite legal prohibitions.

We examined representative samples of students aged from 12 to 18 years (N = 9,309) in two German federal states to provide prevalence data and clinical description of risk factors for problematic gambling.

We found that about 40% of the adolescents reported engaging in gambling activities within the past 12 months and found prevalence rates of 1.7% and 2.2% for problematic gambling. Especially, use of online gambling and slot machines was found to be related to problematic gambling. Male adolescents with a migration background were of higher risk for problematic gambling and psychopathological symptoms were significantly elevated among that group.

The results indicate that participation in gambling activities is common among underaged adolescents and that prevalence of problematic gambling exceeds rates of adults. Similarly, problematic gambling is associated with increased psychopathological strain.

Given that a high proportion of adult gamblers report having started gambling in adolescents, our data emphasize the need for prevention and early intervention strategies for problematic gambling. Access full article

Is gambling involvement a confounding variable for the relationship between Internet gambling and gambling problem severity?

Stéphanie Baggio, Marc Dupuis, André Berchtold, Stanislas Spilka, Olivier Simon, Joseph Studer.

Internet gamblers have more problems gambling than land-based gamblers, but recent studies showed that Internet gamblers are involved in a higher number of gambling activities, which may confound the relationship between Internet gambling and gambling problems. The present study aimed to test whether the relationship between Internet gambling and gambling problems persisted when including variables related to gambling involvement as predictors, namely time spent gambling and diversity of gambling formats. Data from a large sample of French adolescents (n = 9910) were used. Associations between disordered gambling/money spent gambling with Internet gambling were performed using generalized linear models, not controlling and controlling for diversity of gambling formats and time spent gambling. The results showed that Internet gamblers had significantly more problems than land-based gamblers. The relationship decreased when diversity of gambling formats and time spent gambling were controlled separately, and became non-significant when they were both included in the model. To conclude, time spent gambling and diversity of gambling formats rather than Internet gambling should be considered a detrimental gambling behavior. They seemed to capture different aspects of gambling patterns. This study was a step forward in changing the conceptual model of problem gambling, with gambling involvement as a main variable.

The role of social support in the association between gambling, poor health and health risk-taking

Aims: Studies have shown that gambling is associated with poor health and health risk-taking behaviour. However, little is known about those factors that can influence the association between gambling, health risk-taking and health. Using a population-based School Health Promotion Study of eighth- and ninth-grade Finnish boys and girls (N = 62,956), we investigated the relationships between gambling frequency, health risk-taking and poor health as well as whether social support from parents, friends and school staff could mediate these associations. Methods: Path analysis was used to discover direct and indirect effects of health, health risk-taking and gambling. Results: Social support from parents and school staff decreased gambling among boys and girls, whereas among boys support from friends increased gambling. However, the role of social support as a mediator was very weak. Overall poor health and health risk-taking were associated with increased gambling. Conclusions: Gambling should be considered an important public health issue because it clusters with other unhealthy behaviour patterns. Interventions concerning adolescent gambling should also take other simultaneous risk-taking into consideration. Also social support from parents and school should be noted when trying to decrease adolescents’ gambling.

Predictors of adverse gambling related consequences among adolescent boys

Although gambling is illegal for minors, adolescents do gamble and even higher proportions of adolescents than adults are at risk to become problem gamblers. Moreover, many adolescents suffer from a wide range of gambling related harms, and this study sought to examine what predicts different adverse consequences of adolescent gambling. Our aim was to test whether various cognitive, motivational and behavioural factors were associated with psychosocial consequences and loss of control, and with interpersonal and financial consequences of gambling, as measured by the Canadian Adolescent Gambling Inventory, the only instrument developed specifically for use on adolescents. The data was collected on a convenience sample of 1330 male Croatian students (Mage = 16.58, SDage = 1.16) from all three types of secondary education in Croatia. Results show that a high proportion of adolescents gamble, and that almost half of them are either at risk or can already be considered problem gamblers. Sport betting, VLT machines and betting on virtual horse races were the most frequent gambling activities for Croatian high-school boys. Hierarchical regression models showed that psychosocial consequences and loss of control can be predicted by higher frequency of gambling, previous experience with winning money and a specific motivation to earn money gambling, to become a better gambler and with having a drive to continue gambling after winning. On the other hand, interpersonal and financial consequences were predicted again by a higher frequency of gambling, the motive to be a better gambler and the drive to continue gambling after winning, but also by specific motivation to relax and feel better. Having more cognitive distortions, specifically having poorer understanding of chance and probabilities and more superstitious beliefs, as well as engagement in general risky and antisocial behaviour also predicted more interpersonal and financial consequences. Findings are discussed in the context of practical implications for prevention programs of adolescent gambling.
Ricijas, N., Dodig Hundric, D., & Huic, A. (2016). Predictors of adverse gambling related consequences among adolescent boys. Children and Youth Services Review, 67, 168–176.

Adolescent Gaming and Gambling in Relation to Negative Social Consequences and Health

Full text available

The aims of the thesis were to study relationships between the effects of online gaming and gambling and negative social consequences and ill health among adolescents and to determine whether gaming and gambling activities occur together.The papers in this thesis used epidemiological methods to obtain self-report information from Swedish adolescents aged 13–18 years. Time spent in online gaming was associated with negative social consequences, and this relationship was explained by online gaming motives. Gaming for fun and social motives was associated with a reduced risk of negative social consequences, whereas gaming to escape problems, gain status, or meet demands from others was associated with an increased risk…

Source: Hellström, C. (2015). Adolescent Gaming and Gambling in Relation to Negative Social Consequences and Health. Retrieved from