Peer group identification as determinant of youth behavior and the role of perceived social support in problem gambling [open access article]

Abstract: Gambling opportunities have increased rapidly during recent years. Previous research shows that gambling is a popular activity among youth, which may contribute to problem gambling. This study examined how social identification with online and offline peer groups associates with youth problem gambling behavior and if perceived social support buffers this relationship. Data were gathered with an online survey with 1212 American and 1200 Finnish participants between 15 and 25 years of age. Measures included the South Oaks Gambling Screen for problem gambling, and items for peer group identification and perceived social support.

It was found that youth who identify strongly with offline peer groups were less likely to engage in problem gambling, while strong identification with online peer groups had the opposite effect. We also found that the associations between social identification and problem gambling behavior were moderated by perceived social support. Online peer groups may be a determinant in youth problem gambling. Focusing on offline peer groups and increasing social support can hold significant potential in youth gambling prevention. Access full article

Savolainen, I., Sirola, A., Kaakinen, M., et al. (2018). Journal of Gambling Studies.


Tirohanga Taiohi: Taiohi perspectives on gambling among whānau, hapu, iwi and urban Māori communities [open access thesis]

By Ruth Herd. A thesis submitted to Auckland University of Technology in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Health Science (DHSc), July 2018, School of Public Health and Psychosocial Science.

In Aotearoa, New Zealand, the cultural milieu has been re-shaped by commercial gambling. Urban taiohi Māori experience diverse realities and for many ‘gambling is a fact of life.’ Commercial gambling was viewed as a good thing by those whose marae or sports clubs were supported by community trusts and Lottery funding. While others view gambling as damaging communities where people are already struggling.
The purpose of this exploratory study was to discuss with taiohi Māori their perspectives on gambling among their whānau, hapū, iwi and communities. The aims of the study were to: (a) to explore the thoughts and views of taiohi (aged between 16 and 24 years of age) about gambling, and (b) to understand these thoughts and views as they relate to preventing and reducing harm from problem gambling among Māori whānau, hapū, iwi and Māori communities. Access thesis from AUT: Tuwhera Open Theses & Dissertations

Gambling and Video Game Playing Among Youth

Jessica McBride & Jeffrey Derevensky

Gambling and video game playing represent two leisure activities in which adolescents and young adults participate. There are psychological and behavioural parallels between some forms of gambling (e.g., slot machines, video lottery terminals, electronic gambling machines) and some types of video games (e.g., arcade games). Both activities operate on behavioural principles of variable reinforcement schedules in order to reward and prolong play and use exciting and stimulating sound and light effects within game play. Additionally, both activities have similar negative effects associated with excessive play (e.g., poor academic performance, moodiness, loss of interest in activities previously enjoyed, and interpersonal conflict). Thus, there is concern that children and adolescents who are attracted to video games, for both psychological rewards and the challenge, may be at greater risk to gamble. We examined the gambling and video game playing behaviour among 1,229 adolescents and young adults. Results indicate that gamblers, relative to non-gamblers, were more likely to play video games. Video game players were more likely than non-players to gamble. Both social and problem gamblers had higher rates of video game playing than did non-gamblers, and addicted gamers had higher rates of gambling than did social and non-gamers. Results from the current study suggest significant overlap in youth participation in both gambling activities and video game playing. These results have implications for future research and the treatment of problem gambling and video game addiction.

Early risk and protective factors for problem gambling: A systematic review and meta-analysis of longitudinal studies (full text)

Dowling, N. A., Merkouris, S. S., Greenwood, C. J., Oldenhof, E., Toumbourou, J. W., & Youssef, G. J.

This systematic review aimed to identify early risk and protective factors (in childhood, adolescence or young adulthood) longitudinally associated with the subsequent development of gambling problems. A systematic search of peer-reviewed and grey literature from 1990 to 2015 identified 15 studies published in 23 articles. Meta-analyses quantified the effect size of 13 individual risk factors (alcohol use frequency, antisocial behaviours, depression, male gender, cannabis use, illicit drug use, impulsivity, number of gambling activities, problem gambling severity, sensation seeking, tobacco use, violence, undercontrolled temperament), one relationship risk factor (peer antisocial behaviours), one community risk factor (poor academic performance), one individual protective factor (socio-economic status) and two relationship protective factors (parent supervision, social problems). Effect sizes were on average small to medium and sensitivity analyses revealed that the results were generally robust to the quality of methodological approaches of the included articles. These findings highlight the need for global prevention efforts that reduce risk factors and screen young people with high-risk profiles. There is insufficient investigation of protective factors to adequately guide prevention initiatives. Future longitudinal research is required to identify additional risk and protective factors associated with problem gambling, particularly within the relationship, community, and societal levels of the socio-ecological model.

Dowling, N. A., Merkouris, S. S., Greenwood, C. J., Oldenhof, E., Toumbourou, J. W., & Youssef, G. J. (n.d.). Early risk and protective factors for problem gambling: A systematic review and meta-analysis of longitudinal studies. Clinical Psychology Review.

Gambling Games on Social Platforms: How Do Advertisements for Social Casino Games Target Young Adults?

Brett Abarbanel, Sally M. Gainsbury, Daniel King, Nerilee Hing, Paul H. Delfabbro

Social casino gaming, which simulates gambling games on social platforms, has become increasingly popular and is rapidly merging with the gambling industry. Advertisements for social casino games, however, are not bound by the same regulations as real money gambling, despite their similarities. We performed a content analysis of a sample of 115 unique social casino gaming advertisements captured by young adults during their regular Internet use. The results showed that the advertisement imagery typically featured images likely to appeal to young adults, such as bright colors, character images of young adults, cartoon animal characters, gambling and sporting activities, references to popular culture, and references to Las Vegas. Latent and manifest message themes included glamorization of gambling, winning, normalization of gambling, play for free, and a general encouragement to play. Notably, nearly 90 percent of the advertisements contained no responsible or problem gambling language, despite the gambling-like content. As young people are receptive of messages that encourage gambling, we recommend that gaming companies recognize the potential harms of advertisements and embrace corporate social responsibility standards. This includes adding warning messages to advertisements for gambling-themed games and ensuring that marketing messages do not encourage excessive gambling.

Problematic gambling in deaf and hearing-impaired young people in Sweden

Problematic gambling is a public health problem. Deaf and hearing-impaired young people are a high-risk group regarding health and lifestyles. There are indications that young people with disabilities gamble to a greater extent than adolescents without disabilities. Whether this applies specifically to the group deaf and hearing-impaired adolescents is a knowledge gap. This pilot study aims to investigate the prevalence and type of gambling problems in deaf students (16–19 years old) and to identify the group’s risk and protective factors for problematic gambling.

Source: Fröding, K., Geidne, S., & Larsson, M. (2015). Problematic gambling in deaf and hearing-impaired young people in Sweden. The European Journal of Public Health, 25(suppl 3), ckv175.104.

Social casino gaming and adolescents: Should we be concerned and is regulation in sight?

While gambling has traditionally been viewed as an adult activity, there is a growing body of research that a significant number of adolescents are not only gambling but are experiencing gambling related problems. As ease of access via Internet wagering has increased, so too have some of the concomitant problems. Social casino gambling, often thought of gambling without risking one’s money through the use of virtual currency, has become increasingly popular. The current review examines whether we should be concerned over its widespread use and whether such social games should be regulated.

Source: Derevensky, J. L., & Gainsbury, S. M. (n.d.). Social casino gaming and adolescents: Should we be concerned and is regulation in sight? International Journal of Law and Psychiatry.