Rome: High prevalence of gambling among teenagers is linked to “risk-taking behaviour” such as use of alcohol, cigarettes, or cannabis, according to a new study conducted in Italy.
The high prevalence of gambling and its association with substance use “provides further evidence of the need for a greater awareness of gambling behavior in early adolescence”, said Alessandra Buja from the University of Padova, Italy.
The study, published in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioural Pediatrics, included 1,325 sixth-to-eighth-graders from Italian schools participating in a programme for the prevention of underage substance abuse.
The students answered questions about their experience with certain types of gambling: video poker, online betting, and “scratch-and-win” cards.
They were also asked about their use of alcohol, cigarettes, cannabis, and energy drinks.
The results suggested a high rate of gambling in this group of children and teens.
Among eighth-graders, about 46 percent of boys and 35 percent of girls said they were engaged in at least one sort of gambling, the study found.