Longitudinal Links Between Gambling Participation and Academic Performance in Youth: A Test of Four Models
Gambling participation and low academic performance are related during adolescence, but the causal mechanisms underlying this link are unclear. It is possible that gambling participation impairs academic performance. Alternatively, the link between gambling participation and low academic performance could be explained by common underlying risk factors such as impulsivity and socio-family adversity. It could also be explained by other current correlated problem behaviors such as substance use. The goal of the present study was to examine whether concurrent and longitudinal links between gambling participation and low academic performance exist from age 14 to age 17 years, net of common antecedent factors and current substance use. A convenience sample of 766 adolescents (50.6% males) from a longitudinal twin sample participated in the study. Analyses revealed significant, albeit modest, concurrent links at both ages between gambling participation and academic performance. There was also a longitudinal link between gambling participation at age 14 and academic performance at age 17, which persisted after controlling for age 12 impulsivity and socio-family adversity as well as current substance use. Gambling participation predicts a decrease in academic performance during adolescence, net of concurrent and antecedent personal and familial risk factors.
KeywordsGambling participation Academic performance Impulsivity Socio-family risk Substance use Adolescence
Funding for this study was provided by the Fonds Québécois de Recherche sur la Société et la Culture (2014-JU-172894) and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (MOP 123342). We thank Jocelyn Malo and Marie-Elyse Bertrand for coordinating the data collection and Hélène Paradis for data management and preparation. We also thank the twins and their families for participating in this study.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
All authors (i.e., Frank Vitaro, Mara Brendgen, Alain Girard, Ginette Dionne, Michel Boivin) declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in this study were in accordance with the ethical standards of the Sainte-Justine Hospital Research Centre ethics committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments.
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