Variations in Gambling Disorder Symptomatology Across Sexual Identity Among College Student-Athletes
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Gambling disorder has serious negative consequences for individual health and wellbeing, while being more prevalent among college student-athletes compared to the general college population. While previous research reports that sexual minority (i.e., gay, lesbian and bisexual) populations have higher rates of addictive behaviors such as alcohol and drug abuse, no previous research has explored risk for gambling disorder symptomatology by sexual identity status. The aim of the current study is to identify differences in the severity of gambling disorder symptomatology between sexual minority and heterosexual student-athletes. A stratified random sample of 19,299 National Collegiate Athletic Association college student-athletes participated in an anonymous survey assessing gambling disorder symptomatology. Student-athletes completed measures assessing their past 12-month problem gambling as measured by the DSM-5 diagnostic criteria for gambling disorder and provided information on their sexual identity. Gay and bisexual men had disordered gambling scores 3.42 times higher than heterosexual men (p < .01), when adjusting for race/ethnicity, and years in college. Gay/lesbian and bisexual women reported disordered gambling scores 2.57 higher than heterosexual women (p < .01) when adjusting for race/ethnicity and years in college. This is the first study to compare the prevalence of gambling disorder symptomatology across sexual identity status. The higher number of gambling disorder symptoms observed among sexual minorities in the current study underlines the need for more research on this topic, and supports the exploration of intervention efforts designed to better address problem gambling among sexual minority communities.
KeywordsCollege student-athlete Gender Problem gambling Gambling disorder Sexual identity
Funding for data collection was provided by National Collegiate Athletic Association.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
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