Journal of Gambling Studies

, 24:535 | Cite as

Offspring of Parents with Gambling Problems: Adjustment Problems and Explanatory Mechanisms

  • Frank Vitaro
  • Brigitte Wanner
  • Mara Brendgen
  • Richard E. Tremblay
Original Paper


We compared offspring of problem gamblers (n = 42) to offspring of parents without gambling problems (n = 100) to see (1) whether the two groups differed with respect to depressive feelings and conduct/antisociality problems and (2) whether ineffective parenting or the offspring’s own gambling problems played a mediating role in this context. Participants were drawn from a relatively large community-based study (N = 1,872). Parents rated their own gambling and other mental health problems when their children were in mid-adolescence. The children’s self-reports on depressive feelings and conduct/antisociality problems were assessed at two points in time: by mid-adolescence and again by early adulthood. Results showed that children of parents with gambling problems reported more depressive feelings and more conduct problems by mid-adolescence than children of parents without gambling problems. Children of problem gamblers also experienced an increase in their depressive symptoms from mid-adolescence to early adulthood. Importantly, ineffective parenting, but not children’s gambling problems, mediated almost all the links between parental problem gambling and children’s adjustment problems. These results add to a very small data base showing that children of problem gamblers are at risk for a variety of adjustment problems.


Parental problem gambling Child adjustment problems Parenting Longitudinal study Community sample 



This research was made possible by a grant from the Fonds Québécois de Recherche sur la Société et la Culture (FQRSC) and the Quebec Ministry of Health and Social Services.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frank Vitaro
    • 1
  • Brigitte Wanner
    • 1
  • Mara Brendgen
    • 2
  • Richard E. Tremblay
    • 1
  1. 1.Research Unit on Children’s Psychosocial MaladjustmentUniversity of MontrealMontrealCanada
  2. 2.University of Quebec in MontrealMontrealCanada

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