Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 35, Issue 2, pp 179–190 | Cite as

Environmental Correlates of Gambling Behavior in Urban Adolescents

  • Emerson M. Wickwire
  • James P. Whelan
  • Andrew W. Meyers
  • David M. Murray
Original Paper


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.


Gambling Adolescents Perceived environment Ethnic minority 



Support for this research was provided by a grant from the Assisi Foundation of Memphis and a Centers of Excellence grant from the State of Tennessee. The authors thank the Memphis City Schools and the students and families who participated in this study. We also thank Dr. Frances Costa for her valuable input and Claudia McCausland for her help with this project.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emerson M. Wickwire
    • 1
  • James P. Whelan
    • 1
  • Andrew W. Meyers
    • 1
  • David M. Murray
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute for Gambling Education and Research, Department of PsychologyThe University of MemphisMemphisUSA
  2. 2.Division of Epidemiology at the School of Public HealthThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA

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