Who Really Wins? Efficacy of a Croatian Youth Gambling Prevention Program
This paper reports on the development and pilot evaluation of a Croatian school-based youth gambling prevention program “Who really wins?”. The program is aimed at minimizing risk and enhancing protective factors related to youth gambling. A short-term evaluation of the program was conducted with a sample of 190 first and second year high-school students (67.6% boys, aged 14–17 years; average age 15.61). An experimental design with two groups (Training vs. No Training) and two measurement sessions (pre-test and post-test sessions) was used to evaluate change in problem gambling awareness, cognitive distortions, knowledge of the nature of random events as well as in social skills. Results showed significant changes in the post-test sessions, which can be attributed to changes in the Training group. We observed a decrease in risk factors, namely better knowledge about gambling and less gambling related cognitive distortions. Immediate effects on protective factors such as problem solving skills, refusal skills, and general self-efficacy were not observed. Findings also show program effects to be the same for both boys and girls, students from different types of schools, for those with different learning aptitudes, as well as for those at different risk levels with regard to their gambling, which speaks in favour of the program’s universality. The program had no iatrogenic effects on behaviour change and shows promise as an effective tool for youth gambling prevention. Future research and a long-term evaluation are needed to determine whether the observed changes are also linked to behavioural change.
KeywordsPrevention program Evaluation Youth gambling Problem gambling Adolescents
The presented study is part of the project which is financially and organisationally supported by the Ministry of Science, Education and Sports of the Republic of Croatia, Education and Teacher Training Agency, and Croatian Lottery, Ltd.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
- Allami, Y., & Vitaro, F. (2015). Pathways model to problem gambling: Clinical implications for treatment and prevention among adolescents. The Canadian Journal of Addiction, 6(2), 13–19.Google Scholar
- Brotherhood, A., & Sumnall, H. R. (2011). European drug prevention quality standards. A manual for prevention professionals. European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.Google Scholar
- Casey, B. J., Getz, S., & Galvan, A. (2008). The adolescent brain. Developmental Review (Special Issue: Current Directions in Risk and Decision Making), 28(1), 62–77.Google Scholar
- Chen, C. (1998). Theory-driven evaluations. Advances in Educational Productivity, 7, 15–34.Google Scholar
- Cordova, D., Estrada, Y., Malcom, S., Huang, S., Brown, C. H., Pantin, H., et al. (2014). Prevention science: An epidemiological approach. In Z. Sloboda & H. Petras (Eds.), Defining prevention science (pp. 1–23). New York: Springer.Google Scholar
- Derevensky, J. L., & Gilbeau, L. (2015). Adolescent gambling: Twenty-five years of research. The Canadian Journal of Addiction, 6(2), 4–12.Google Scholar
- Derevensky, J. L., Gupta, R., Dickson, L., & Deguire, A. (2006). Prevention efforts toward reducing gambling problems. In J. L. Derevensky & R. Gupta (Eds.), Gambling problems in youth: Theoretical and applied perspectives. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
- Dodig, D. (2013a). Assessment challenges and determinants of adolescents’ adverse psychological consenquences of gambling. Criminology and Social Integration Journal, 21(2), 15–29.Google Scholar
- Dodig, D. (2013b). Obiljezja kockanja mladih i odrednice stetnih psihosocijalnih posljedica/Characteristics of youth gambling and determinants of adverse psychosocial consequences. Doktorska disertacija/Doctoral Dissertation. Pravni fakultet Sveucilista u Zagrebu/Faculty of Law, University of Zagreb, Zagreb.Google Scholar
- Eddy, M. J., Reid, J. B., & Curry, V. (2002). The etiology of youth antisocial behavior, delinquency, and violence and a public health approach to prevention. In M. R. Shinn, H. M. Walker, & G. Stoner (Eds.), Interventions for academic and behavior problems II: Preventive and remedial approaches (pp. 27–51). Washington, DC: National Association of School Psychologists.Google Scholar
- Faggiano, F., Allara, E., Giannotta, F., Molinar, R., Sumnall, H., Wiers, R., et al. (2014). Europe needs a central, transparent, and evidence-based approval process for behavioural prevention interventions. PLoS Medicine, 11(10), e1001740. doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1001740.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Gray, K. L., Oakley Browne, M. A., & Prabhu, V. R. (2007). Systematic review and meta-analysis of studies on early intervention and prevention for problem gambling. Report prepared for Gambling Research Australia. Monash University Department of Rural and Indigenous Health.Google Scholar
- Greenberg, M. T., Domitrovich, C., Graczyk, P. A., & Zins, J. E. (2005). The study of implementation in school-based prevention research: Theory, research and practice. Volume 3 of Promotion of Mental Health and Prevention of Mental and Behavioral Disorders. Rockville, MD: Center for Mental Health Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services.Google Scholar
- Griffiths, M. D. (1995). Adolescent gambling. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Hawkins, J. D., Jenson, J. M., Catalano, R., Fraser, M. W., Botvin, G. J., Shapiro, V., et al. (2015). Unleashing the power of prevention. Discussion paper, Institute of Medicine and National Research Council, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
- Jacobs, D. F. (2004). Youth gambling in North America: An analysis of long term trends and future prospects. In J. Derevensky & R. Gupta (Eds.), Gambling problems in youth: Theoretical and applied perspectives (pp. 1–26). New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers.Google Scholar
- Keen, B., Blaszczynski, A., & Anjoul, F. (2016). Systematic review of empirically evaluated echool-based gambling education programs. Journal of Gambling Studies. Online publication date: 26 August 2016, doi: 10.1007/s10899-016-9641-7. Accessed 23 December 2016.
- Kirkpatrick, D. L., & Kirkpatrick, J. D. (2007). Implementing the four levels: A practical guide to effective training programs. San Francisco: Berett-Koehler Publishers.Google Scholar
- Merrell, K. W., Levitt, V. H., & Gueldner, B. A. (2012). Proactive strategies for promoting social competence and resilience. In G. Gimpel Peackok, R. A. Ervin, K. W. Merrell, & E. J. Daly III (Eds.), Practical handbook of school psychology: Effective practices for the 21st century. 273: 254.Google Scholar
- Ricijas, N., & Dodig, D. (2014). Youth sports betting—The Croatian perspective. International Centre for Youth Gambling Problems and Hihg-Risk Behaviors, Vol. 14, No. 3. www.youthgambling.com
- Ricijas, N., Dodig, D., Huic, A., & Kranzelic, V. (2011). Navike i obiljezja kockanja adolescenata u urbanim sredinama - izvjestaj o rezultatima istrazivanja. Project report. Zagreb: University of Zagreb, Faculty of Education and Rehabilitation Sciences. https://bib.irb.hr/prikazi-rad?&rad=654654. Accessed 19 June 2016.
- Ricijas, N., Dodig Hundric, D., Huic, A., & Kranzelic, V. (2016b). Youth gambling in Croatia—Frequency of gambling and problem gambling occurrence. Criminology and Social Integration Journal, 24(2), 48–72.Google Scholar
- Ricijas, N., Dodig Hundric, D., & Kranzelic, V. (2015). Sports betting and other risk behaviour among Croatian high-school students. Croatian Review of Rehabilitation Research, 15(2), 41–56.Google Scholar
- Ricijas, N., Huic, A., Dodig, D., & Kranzelic, V. (2013). Osmisljavanje, implementacija i evaluacija preventivnog programa kockanja mladih „TKO ZAPRAVO POBJEĐUJE?“: projektni izvjestaj. Project report. Zagreb: University of Zagreb, Faculty of Education and Rehabilitation Sciences. https://bib.irb.hr/datoteka/654656.IZVJESTAJ_-_PREVENTIVNI_PROGRAM_2013.pdf. Accessed 20 June 2016.
- Rivers, S. E., Reyna, V. F., & Mills, B. (2008). Risk taking under the influence: A fuzzy-trace theory of emotion in adolescence. Developmental Review (Special Issue: Current Directions in Risk and Decision Making), 28(1), 107–144.Google Scholar
- Schwarzer, R., & Jerusalem, M. (1995). Generalized self-efficacy scale. In J. Weinman, S. Wright, & M. Johnston (Eds.), Measures in health psychology: A user’s portfolio. Causal and control beliefs (pp. 35–37). Windsor: NFER-Nelson.Google Scholar
- Scott, E. S., & Grisso, T. (2005). Developmental incompetence, due process, and juvenile justice policy. North Carolina Law Review, 83, 793–845.Google Scholar
- Scott, E. S., & Steinberg, L. (2008). Rethinking juvenile justice. Boston, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
- Shaffer, H., Hall, M., & Vander Bilt, J. (1997). Estimating the prevalence of disordered gambling behaviour in the United States and Canada: A meta-analysis. Boston: Harvard Press.Google Scholar
- Steinberg, L. (2008). A social neuroscience perspective on adolescent risk-taking. Developmental Review (Special Issue: Current Directions in Risk and Decision Making), 28(1), 78–106.Google Scholar
- Tremblay, J., Stinchfield, R., Wiebe, J., & Wynne, H. (2010). Canadian adolescent gambling inventory (CAGI) phase III final report. Submitted to the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse and the Interprovincial Consortium on Gambling Research.Google Scholar
- Uhl, A., Ives, R., & Members of the Pompidou Group Prevention Platform. (2010). Evaluation of drug prevention activities: Theory and practice. P-PG/Prev (2010)6. Council of Europe.Google Scholar
- Valente, T. W., Ritt-Olson, A., Stacy, A., Unger, J. B., Okamoto, J., & Sussman, S. (2007). Peer acceleration: Effects of a social network tailored substance abuse prevention program among high-risk adolescents. Research report. Institute for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, Department of Preventive Medicine, CA, USA. doi: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2007.01992.x
- WHO. (2004). Prevention of mental disorders: Effective interventions and policy options: Summary report. Geneva: World Health Organization Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse in collaboration with the Prevention Research Centre of the Universities of Nijmegen and Maastricht.Google Scholar
- Williams, R. J., West, B. L., & Simpson, R. I. (2012). Prevention of problem gambling: A comprehensive review of the evidence and identified best practices. Guelph, ON: Ontario Problem Gambling Research Centre.Google Scholar