Journal of Gambling Studies

, Volume 28, Issue 4, pp 607–622 | Cite as

Gambling and Problem Gambling Among Young Adolescents in Great Britain

  • David Forrest
  • Ian G. McHale
Original Paper


International evidence suggests that problem gambling tends to be 2–4 times higher among adolescents as among adults and this proves to be true of Great Britain according to the latest adolescent prevalence survey. 8,958 British children (11–15) were surveyed in 201 schools during late 2008 and 2009. The questionnaire included a standard screen, DSM-IV-MR-J, to test for problem gambling. Our regression models explore influences of demographic, home and school characteristics on probabilities (both unconditional and conditional on being a gambler) of a child testing positive for problem gambling. More than 20% of children participated in gambling and, of these, nearly 8% tested positive. Age-group prevalence of problem gambling was 1.9%, compared with 0.6–0.9% in the most recent official adult surveys. Boys were much more likely than girls to gamble and to exhibit symptoms of problem gambling if they did. Generally, home characteristics, particularly parental attitude and example, dominated school characteristics in accounting for risks. Unanticipated findings included significantly elevated probabilities of problem gambling among Asian children and among children who live in a home without siblings. Child income was also a potent predictor of gambling and problem gambling.


Adolescent gambling Adolescent problem gamblers Risk factors Probit 



We are grateful to our colleagues at Ipsos MORI for fruitful collaboration in the design and implementation of the survey and for comments from participants during a seminar in the Institute of Public Health at The University of Cambridge.


  1. American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4th ed) text revised. doi: 10.1176/appi.books.9780890423349.
  2. Blinn-Pike, L., Worthy, S. L., & Jonkman, J. N. (2010). Adolescent gambling: A review of an emerging field of research. Journal of Adolescent Health, 47, 223–236.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Delfabbro, P., Lahn, J., & Grabosky, P. (2005). Adolescent gambling in the ACT. Canberra: Australian National University.Google Scholar
  4. Fisher, S. (2000). Developing the DSM-IV criteria to identify adolescent problem gambling in non-clinical populations. Journal of Gambling Studies, 16, 253–273.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Forrest, D., & Wardle, H. (2011). Gambling in Asian communities in Great Britain. Asian Journal of Gambling Issues and Public Health, 2, 2–16.Google Scholar
  6. Griffiths, M. (2002). Gambling and gaming addictions in adolescence. Leicester: British Psychological Society/Blackwells.Google Scholar
  7. Gupta, R., & Derevensky, J. L. (1997). Familial and social influences on juvenile gambling behavior. Journal of Gambling Studies, 13, 179–192.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Gupta, R., & Derevensky, J. L. (1998). Adolescent gambling behaviour: A prevalence study and examination of the correlates associated with problem gambling. Journal of Gambling Studies, 14, 319–345.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Gupta, R., & Derevensky, J. L. (2000). Adolescents with gambling problems: From research to treatment. Journal of Gambling Studies, 16, 315–342.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Hansen, M., & Rossow, I. (2008). Adolescent gambling and problem gambling: Does the total consumption model apply? Journal of Gambling Studies, 24, 135–149.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Hurt, H., Gianetta, J. M., Brodsky, N. L., Shera, D., & Romer, D. (2008). Gambling initiation in preadolescents. Journal of Adolescent Health, 43, 91–93.Google Scholar
  12. Ipsos Mori. (2009). British survey of children, the National Lottery and gambling: Report of a quantitative survey. London: National Lottery Commission.Google Scholar
  13. Lorains, F. K., Cowlishaw, S., & Thomas, S. A. (2011). Prevalence of comorbid disorders in problem and pathological gambling: Systematic review and meta-analysis of population surveys. Addiction, 106, 490–498.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. McComb, J. L., & Sabiston, C. M. (2010). Family influences on adolescent gambling behavior: A review of the literature. Journal of Gambling Studies, 26, 503–520.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Petry, N., Stinson, F., & Grant, B. (2005). Comorbidity of DSM-IV pathological gambling and other psychiatric disorders: Results from the National epidemiologic survey on alcohol and related conditions. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 66, 564–574.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Proimos, J., DuRant, R., Pierce, J. D., & Goodman, E. G. (1998). Gambling and other risk behaviours among 8th- to 12th-grade students. Pediatrics, 102(e23), 1–6.Google Scholar
  17. Valentine, G. (2008). Literature review of children and young people’s gambling. Birmingham: The Gambling Commission.Google Scholar
  18. Vaughan Williams, L., Page, L., Parke, J., & Rigbye, J. (2008). British Gambling Prevalence Survey 2007: Secondary analysis. Birmingham: The Gambling Commission.Google Scholar
  19. Volberg, R., Hedberg, E. C., & Moore, T. L. (2008). Oregon youth and their parents: Gambling and problem gambling prevalence and attitudes. Salem, OR: Oregon Department of Human Services.Google Scholar
  20. Wardle, H., Moody, A., Spence, S., Orford, J., Volberg, R., Jotangia, D., et al. (2011). British Gambling Prevalence Survey 2010. London: The Stationery Office.Google Scholar
  21. Wardle, H., Sproston, K., Orford, J., Erens, B., Griffiths, M. D., Constantine, R., et al. (2007). British Gambling Prevalence Survey 2007. London: The Stationery Office.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of SalfordSalfordUK

Personalised recommendations