Prevalence of Adolescent Problem Gambling, Related Harms and Help-Seeking Behaviours Among an Australian Population
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Epidemiological studies have consistently reported prevalence rates ranging between 0.9 and 23.5% for problem gambling among young people. With such a large range reported in the literature, it is clear that more research in this area would be of value. The current study investigated the prevalence rate of adolescent gambling and problem gambling and explored types of harm-related and help-seeking behaviours associated with gambling specific to this population in an Australian setting. A self-administered battery of questionnaires was distributed to 252 students aged 12–18 years, attending four private schools in the Eastern suburbs of Sydney, Australia. The battery included a self-administered socio-gambling demographic questionnaire, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual Fourth Edition Multiple Response Juvenile (DSM-IV-MR-J) diagnostic instrument to assess problem gambling status, the Gambling Attitudes Scale, and questionnaires using a Likert scale to measure gambling-related harms and help-seeking behaviours. The prevalence rate among this group was found to be 6.7%. The study found further support for previous findings suggesting that a significant proportion of young people meet criteria for problem gambling, that males are at-risk and that few adolescents are able to recognise when gambling is problematic or access mental health professionals for assistance.
KeywordsAdolescent Gambling Prevalence Problem gambling Risk-taking
The authors would like to thank Star City Casino for funding this research and Waverley Action for Youth Services (WAYS) for resources and access to schools in the Eastern suburbs of Sydney. Thanks to Dr Terri Said and Claire McGuire for their administrative support and most importantly to the schools and students who agreed to take part in this study.
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