Gender Differences in the Relationship Between Depression, Antisocial Behavior, Alcohol Use, and Gambling during Emerging Adulthood

Abstract

Emerging adults show higher prevalence of harmful risk behaviors, such as alcohol use and gambling, compared to other age groups. In existing research, it appears that patterns of risk behaviors vary by gender during emerging adulthood. However, scarce research has examined gender differences in prospective relations among risk behaviors in emerging adults. This study explores gender differences in the developmental risks of depression, antisocial behavior, and alcohol use (Wave III) on gambling (Waves III and IV) in emerging adulthood in a sample of emerging adults (N = 8282) from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health. Results showed that antisocial behavior was associated with increased risk of alcohol use. Heavy drinking in early emerging adulthood was associated with increased risk of gambling later, but depression was marginally protective of gambling. Among men, contemporaneous associations between alcohol use and heavy drinking were stronger than among women. Among women, earlier binge drinking conferred increased risk of later gambling problems, but in men negative relationships between the two were found. The results highlight the importance of ongoing efforts in early prevention and intervention for the co-occurrence of risk behaviors in emerging adulthood.

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Acknowledgments

This research uses data from Add Health, a program project directed by Kathleen Mullan Harris and designed by J. Richard Udry, Peter S. Bearman, and Kathleen Mullan Harris at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and funded by grant P01-HD31921 from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, with cooperative funding from 23 other federal agencies and foundations. Special acknowledgment is due Ronald R. Rindfuss and Barbara Entwisle for assistance in the original design. Information on how to obtain the Add Health data files is available on the Add Health website (http://www.cpc.unc.edu/addhealth). No direct support was received from grant P01-HD31921 for this analysis.

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Correspondence to Hyun-Jin Jun.

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This study was supported by the competitive dissertation grant from University of Maryland School of Social Work.

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Add Health participants provided written informed consent for participation in all aspects of Add Health in accordance with the University of North Carolina School of Public Health Institutional Review Board guidelines that are based on the Code of Federal Regulations on the Protection of Human Subjects 45CFR46: http://www.hhs.gov/ohrp/humansubjects/guidance/45cfr46.html.

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Jun, H., Sacco, P., Bright, C. et al. Gender Differences in the Relationship Between Depression, Antisocial Behavior, Alcohol Use, and Gambling during Emerging Adulthood. Int J Ment Health Addiction 17, 1328–1339 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11469-018-0048-9

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Keywords

  • Gambling
  • Depression
  • Antisocial behavior
  • Alcohol use
  • Gender differences
  • Emerging adults