The WAGER, Vol. 2(21) – Antisocial behavior & gambling among adolescents


Substance abuse and other psychiatric disorders (e.g., depression) have been confirmed to exist among pathological gamblers to a higher degree than in the general population. Some clinicians and researchers have speculated that pathological gambling is part of a “multiple-risk” profile that includes other deviant behaviors. The Minnesota Department of Education’s Minnesota Student Survey data1 offers some evidence that pathological gambling is associated with antisocial behavior among male students. Stinchfield & colleagues examined patterns among 122,700 public school students (6th, 9th, 12th grades) in 1992 and 75,900 public school students (9th and 12th grade) in 19951. Antisocial behavior was identified by asking the following questions: 1) do you get a real kick out of doing things that are a little dangerous?; 2) how often have you damaged or destroyed property?; 3) how often have you hit or beat-up another person?; and 4) how often have you taken something from a store without paying for it?. For boys, more frequent gambling activity is related to antisocial behavior as defined by this 4-question scale. This relationship is not apparent among girls. These patterns are similar for 1992 data. Future research will help determine the nature of the relationships between pathological gambling and clusters of other disorders. For example, it is still unclear whether pathological gambling is a unique entity or an expression of another disorder.

Source: Stinchfield, R., Cassuto, N., Winters, K., & Latimer, W. (1997). Prevalence of gambling among Minnesota public school students in 1992 and 1995. Journal of Gambling Studies, 13(1), 25-48.

This public education project is funded, in part, by The Andrews Foundation.

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