Journal of Gambling Studies

, Volume 28, Issue 2, pp 325–336 | Cite as

Gambling and Adverse Life Events Among Urban Adolescents

  • Carla L. Storr
  • Grace P. Lee
  • Jeffrey L. Derevensky
  • Nicholas S. Ialongo
  • Silvia S. Martins
Original Paper


This study explored the cross sectional association between adverse life events and gambling in a sample of 515 urban adolescents (average age 17, 55% male, 88% African American). Approximately half of the sample had gambled in the past year (51%); 78% of the gamblers gambled monthly and 39% had a gambling-related problem. On the other hand, 88% of the sample had experienced at least one life event in the past year, and those experiencing events tended to live in more disadvantaged neighborhoods. The mere acknowledgement of experiencing a stressful life event in the past year (yes/no) was not associated with an increase in odds of being a gambler, with gambling more frequently, or with having a gambling problem. However, when the context of the event was considered, an association was found between directly experiencing threatening and deviant/violent types of events and frequent gambling (OR > 2). Additionally, the probability of being a gambler increased as the number of events experienced increased (aOR = 1.07, 95% CI = 1.01, 1.13, P = 0.013), but problems among gamblers were not associated with the number of events experienced (aOR = 1.01, 95% CI = 0.92, 1.11, P = 0.876). During adolescence, life events appear to be connected more with the frequency of gambling rather than with problems related to gambling.


Gambling Life events Adolescence 



This study was funded by a research grant from the National Institute of Child and Human Development, National Institutes of Health (NICHD-NIH, HD060072-P.I. Dr. Martins). The JHU PIRC Second-Generation Intervention Trial was funded by National Institute on Drug Abuse grant DA11796 (P.I. Dr. Ialongo).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carla L. Storr
    • 1
    • 2
  • Grace P. Lee
    • 2
  • Jeffrey L. Derevensky
    • 3
    • 4
  • Nicholas S. Ialongo
    • 2
  • Silvia S. Martins
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Family and Community HealthUniversity of Maryland School of NursingBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.Department of Mental HealthBloomberg School of Public HealthBaltimoreUSA
  3. 3.Department of Educational and Counseling PsychologyMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada
  4. 4.Department of PsychiatryMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada

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