Beliefs and Attitudes of Mental Health Professionals with Respect to Gambling and Other High Risk Behaviors in Schools

  • Caroline E. Temcheff
  • Jeffrey L. Derevensky
  • Renée A. St-Pierre
  • Rina Gupta
  • Isabelle Martin


Studies have shown that mental health service provider perceptions of problems and knowledge of resources are among the largest determinants of service provision and referral. The current study aims at exploring mental health professionals’ awareness of, attitudes towards and beliefs regarding high-risk behaviors in youth, including gambling. Child psychologists, social workers, and psychoeducators (n = 649) responded to an online survey. Findings revealed that problem gambling was viewed by most professionals as the least serious adolescent risk behavior, and few reported feeling confident in their abilities to deal with youth with gambling problems. However, the majority of professionals felt that they have a significant role to play in the prevention of youth gambling problems, and many endorsed strong interest in receiving continuing education in the prevention, identification, and treatment of problem gambling. Results highlight the importance of continued efforts in increasing awareness regarding youth problematic gambling, as well as the need for greater continuing education training on adolescent gambling for mental health professionals.


Mental health professionals Psychologists Attitudes Youth Gambling Continuing education 



The authors would like to thank Cloé Longpré-Langlois for her assistance with early phases data cleaning and analysis. We are most grateful to all of the regulatory bodies for their assistance in dissemination of the study and most especially to the participants. We thank them for taking the time to honestly complete the survey and share their perceptions relating to adolescent risky behaviors with us.


  1. Brown, M. B., & Bolen, L. M. (2008). The School-Based Health Center as a Resource for Prevention and Health Promotion. Psychology in the Schools, 45, 28–38. doi: 10.1002/pits.20276.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bun, C. J. E., Stolwijk, A. M., & Raat, H. (1994). The Relationship Between the Behaviour, the Opinion, and the Attitude of Parents and the Behaviour of Adolescents in Drinking, Smoking, and Gambling. Tijdschrift voor Alcohol, Drugs en Andere Psychotrope Stoffen, 20(2), 78–87.Google Scholar
  3. Campbell, C., Derevensky, J., Meerkamper, E., & Cutajar, J. (2011). Parents’ Perceptions of Adolescent Gambling: A Canadian National Study. Journal of Gambling Issues, 25, 36–53. doi: 10.4309/jgi.2011.25.4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Crespi, T. D., & Hughes, T. L. (2004). School-Based Mental Health Services for Adolescents. Journal of Applied School Psychology, 20, 67–78. doi: 10.1300/J370v20n01_05.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Derevensky, J. L., St-Pierre, R. A., Temcheff, C. E., & Gupta, R. (2013). Teacher Awareness and Attitudes Regarding Adolescent Risky Behaviours: Is Adolescent Gambling perceived to be a Problem? Journal of Gambling Studies. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1007/s10899-013-9363-z.
  6. Diamanduros, T., Downs, E., & Jenkins, S. J. (2008). The Role of School Psychologists in the Assessment, Prevention, and Intervention of Cyberbullying. Psychology in the Schools, 45, 693–704. doi: 10.1002/pits.20335.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Dickson, L., & Derevensky, J. L. (2006). Equipping School Psychologists to Address Another Risky Behavior: The Case for Understanding Youth Problem Gambling. Canadian Journal of School Psychology, 21, 59–72. doi: 10.1177/0829573506298689.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Dickson-Gillespie, L., Rugle, L., Rosenthal, R., & Fong, T. (2008). Preventing the Incidence and Harm of Gambling Problems. The Journal of Primary Prevention, 29(1), 37–55. doi: 10.1007/s10935-008-0126-z.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Gupta, R., & Derevensky, J. L. (2004). A Treatment Approach for Adolescents With Gambling Problems. In J. L. Derevensky & R. Gupta (Eds.), Gambling Problems in Youth: Theoretical and Applied Perspectives (pp. 165–188). New York: Klewer Academic/Plenum Publishers.Google Scholar
  10. Jacka, D., Clode, D., Patterson, S., & Wyman, K. (1999). Attitudes and Practices of General Practitioners Training to Work With Drug-Using Patients. Drug and Alcohol Review, 18, 287–291. doi: 10.1080/09595239996428.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Jacobs, D. F. (2004). Youth Gambling in North America: Long-Term Trends and Future Prospects. In J. L. Derevensky & R. Gupta (Eds.), Gambling Problems in Youth: Theoretical and Applied Perspectives (pp. 1–24). New York: Klewer Academic/Plenum Publishers.Google Scholar
  12. Kessler, R. C., Avenevoli, S., Costello, J., Georgiades, K., Green, J. G., Gruber, M. J., et al. (2012). Prevalence, persistence, and sociodemographic correlates of DSM-IV disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication Adolescent Supplement. Archives of General Psychiatry, 69, 372–380. doi: 10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2011.160.
  13. Ladouceur, R., Ferland, F., Côté, M.-A., & Vitaro, F. (2004). Teachers’ Knowledge and Training Needs Regarding Youth Gambling. School Psychology International, 25, 472–479. doi: 10.1177/0143034304048780.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Lubman, D. I., Hides, L., Jorm, A. F., & Morgan, A. J. (2007). Health Professionals’ Recognition of Co-Occurring Alcohol and Depressive Disorders in Youth: A Survey of Australian General Practitioners, Psychiatrists, Psychologists and Mental Health Nurses Using Case Vignettes. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 41, 830–835. doi: 10.1080/00048670701579090.
  15. Merikangas, K. R., He, J.-P., Brody, D., Fisher, P. W., Bourdon, K., & Koretz, D. S. (2010). Prevalence and Treatment of Mental Disorders Among US Children in the 2001–2004 NHANES. Pediatrics, 125, 75–81. doi: 10.1542/2008-2598.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. National Research Council and Institute of Medicine. (2009). Preventing Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Disorders Among Young People: Progress and Possibilities. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.Google Scholar
  17. Shaffer, H. J., Forman, D. P., Scanlan, K. M., & Smith, F. (2000). Awareness of Gambling-Related Problems, Policies and Educational Programs Among High School and College Administrators. Journal of Gambling Studies, 16, 93–101. doi: 10.1023/A:1009435518147.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Stiffman, A. R., Hadley-Ives, E., Doré, P., Polgar, M., Horvath, V. E., Striley, C., & Elze, D. (2000). Youths’ Access to Mental Health Services: The Role of Providers’ Training, Resource Connectivity, and Assessment of Need. Mental Health Services Research, 2, 141–154. doi: 10.1023/A:1010189710028.
  19. Stiffman, A. R., Pescosolido, B., & Cabassa, L. J. (2004). Building a Model to Undrstand Youth Service Access: The Gateway Provider Model. Mental Health Services Research, 6, 189–198. doi: 10.1023/B:MHSR.0000044745.09952.33.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Stiffman, A. R., Striley, C., Horvath, V. E., Hadley-Ives, E., Polgar, M., Elze, D., & Pescarino, R. (2001). Organizational Context and Provider Perception as Determinants of Mental Health use. Journal of Behavioral Health Services and Research, 28, 188–204. doi: 10.1007/BF02287461.Google Scholar
  21. Swanson, S. A., Crow, S. J., Le Grange, D., Swendsen, J., & Merikangas, K. R. (2011). Prevalence and Correlates of Eating Disorders in Adolescents: Results from the National Comorbidity Survey Replication Adolescent Supplement. Archives of General Psychiatry, 68, 714–723. doi: 10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2011.22.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Volberg, R. A., Gupta, R., Griffiths, M. D., Ólason, D. T., & Delfabbro, P. (2010). An International Perspective on Youth Gambling Prevalence Studies. International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health, 22(1), 3–38.PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Caroline E. Temcheff
    • 1
  • Jeffrey L. Derevensky
    • 2
  • Renée A. St-Pierre
    • 2
  • Rina Gupta
    • 2
  • Isabelle Martin
    • 3
  1. 1.Département de psychoéducationUniversité de SherbrookeLongueuilCanada
  2. 2.School/Applied Child Psychology International Centre for Youth Gambling Problems and High-Risk BehaviorsMcGill UniversityMontréalCanada
  3. 3.Loto-QuébecMontréalCanada

Personalised recommendations