, Volume 35, Issue 2, pp 179-190
Date: 12 Jan 2007

Environmental Correlates of Gambling Behavior in Urban Adolescents

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The present study considered the relation between adolescent gambling behavior and the perceived environment, the component of Jessor and Jessor’s (1977) Problem Behavior Theory that assesses the ways that adolescents perceive the attitudes and behaviors of parents and peers. The predominantly African-American sample included 188 sophomores from two urban public high schools. Using the South Oaks Gambling Screen-Revised for Adolescents to assess gambling risk, rates of both at-risk (20.7%) and problem (12.8%) gambling were found to be high. Boys displayed more gambling problems than did girls. The perceived environment accounted for significant variance in gambling problems and frequency, with proximal components displaying stronger relationships than distal components. Perceiving parent gambling and friend models for problem behavior were positively correlated with gambling problems, and friend models were positively related to gambling frequency. Among girls, family support was positively related to gambling problems. Among boys, this relation was negative.

The authors Emerson M. Wickwire, Jr. James P. Whelan, and Andrew W. Meyers are members of The Institute for Gambling Education and Research, Department of Psychology, The University of Memphis, Memphis, TN. The primary research interest of this group is the prevention and treatment of gambling related problems.
David M. Murray, Ph.D., is the Chair of the Division of Epidemiology at the School of Public Health, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH.