Adolescent Gambling Behaviour, Attitudes, and Gambling Problems

  • Nigel E. Turner
  • John Macdonald
  • Mark Bartoshuk
  • Masood Zangeneh


This paper reports on data relating to adolescent gambling, problem gambling and correlates of problem gambling. Participation was strongly tied to age, with only 39% of grade 5 students reporting gambling and over 80% of grade 11 reporting gambling. A large percentage of the gambling involvement was on noncommercial private bets such as card games, dice games, sports bets and games of skill. Interestingly most students rated gambling as less enjoyable than most other activities including reading. In general the students understood that gambling was mostly a matter of luck, however, the students had a very poor understanding of random chance. Problem gambling was negatively correlated with the effectiveness of coping skills and the student’s understanding of random chance. We also found an interaction between coping skills and knowledge, suggesting that the combination of poor coping skills and a poor understanding of random chance are particularly important in understanding adolescent problem gambling.


Youth gambling Coping Erroneous beliefs 


  1. Allen, L., Cipielewski, J., & Stanovich, K. E. (1992). Multiple indicators of children’s reading habits and attitudes: Construct validity and cognitive correlates. Journal of Educational Psychology, 84, 489–503.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bandura, A. (1992). Self-efficacy mechanism in psychobiologic functioning. In: R. Schwarzer (Ed.), Self-efficacy: Thought control of action. (pp. 355–394). Washington, DC: Hemisphere.Google Scholar
  3. Bandura, A. (1995). Exercise of personal and collective efficacy in changing societies. In: A. Bandura (Ed.), Self-efficacy in changing societies. (pp. 1–45). New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Blaszczynski, A. (2000). Pathways to Pathological Gambling: Identifying Typologies. The Electrical Journal of Gambling Issues, 1,
  5. Blaszczynski, A., & Nower, L. (2002a). Identifying Youth Gamblers in Educational Settings Using the Pathway Model. Discovery 2002 conference. Responsible Gambling Council (Ontario). April 21–24, Niagara Falls, Canada.Google Scholar
  6. Blaszczynski, A., & Nower, L. (2002b). A pathways model of problem and pathological gambling. Addiction, 97, 487–499.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Derevensky, J., & Gupta, R. (2004). The chase: Adolescents with gambling problems. The Electronic Journal of Gambling Issues, Issue 10.Google Scholar
  8. Derevensky, J., Gupta, R., & Della Cioppa, G. (1996). A developmental perspective on gambling behavior in children and adolescents. Journal of Gambling Studies, 12(1), 49–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Endler, N. S., & Parker, J. D. A. (1990). Coping inventory for stressful situations (CISS): Manual. Toronto: Multi Health Systems.Google Scholar
  10. Folkman, S., & Lazarus, R. S. (1988). Ways of coping questionnaire manual. Redwood City, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press.Google Scholar
  11. Griffiths, M. (1990). The cognitive psychology of gambling. Journal of Gambling Studies, 6(1), 31–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Griffiths, M. (1995). Adolescent gambling. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  13. Gupta, R., & Derevensky, J. L. (1998a). Adolescent gambling behavior: A prevalence study and examination of the correlates associated with problem gambling. Journal of Gambling Studies, 14(4) 319–345.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Gupta, R., & Derevensky, J. L. (1998b). An empirical examination of Jacobs’ General Theory of Addictions. Do Adolescent gambling fit the theory? Journal of Gambling Studies, 14(1), 17–49.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Gupta, R., Marget, N., & Derevensky, J. (2000). Adolescent problem gamblers: A preliminary analysis of their coping skills. Paper presented at the Ontario Conference on Problem and Compulsive Gambling, Niagara Falls, May.Google Scholar
  16. Herman, J., Gupta, R., & Derevensky, J. (1997). Children’s cognitive perceptions of gambling using a 6/49 task. Paper presented at the Canadian Foundation for Compulsive Gambling Conference, Toronto, June.Google Scholar
  17. Jacobs, D. F. (1988). Evidence for a common dissociative-like reaction among addicts. Journal of Gambling Behavior, 4, 27–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Ladouceur, R., Dube, D., & Bujold, A. (1994). Prevalence of pathological gambling and related problems among college students in the Quebec metropolitan area. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 39(5), 289–293.Google Scholar
  19. Ladouceur, R., & Gaboury, A. (1988). Effects of limited and unlimited stakes on gambling behavior. Journal of Gambling Behavior, 4(2), 119–126.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Marlatt, .G. A., &. Gordon, J. R. (Eds.) (1985). Relapse prevention: Maintenance strategies in the treatment of addictive behaviours. New York: Guildford.Google Scholar
  21. Morgan, W. G. (2000). Origin and history of an early TAT card: Picture C. Journal of Personality Assessment, 74, 88–94.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Room, R., Turner, N. E., & Ialomiteanu, A. (1999). Community effects of the opening of the Niagara Casino: A first report. Addiction, 94, 1449–1466.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Shaffer, H. J., Hall, M. N., & Vander Bilt, J. (1997). Estimating the prevalence of disordered gambling behavior in the United States and Canada: A Meta-analysis. Boston: Harvard Medical School Division on Addictions.Google Scholar
  24. Shaffer, H. J., Labrie, R., Scanlan, K. M., & Cummings, T. N. (1994). Pathological gambling among adolescents: Massachusetts Gambling Screen (MAGS). Journal of Gambling Studies, 10, 339–362.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Sklar, S. M., Annis, H. M., & Turner, N. E. (1997). Development of the drug-taking confidence questionnaire: A measure of coping self-efficacy. Addictive Behaviors, 22, 655–670.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Toneatto, T. (1999). Cognitive psychopathology of problem gambling. Substance Use and Misuse, 34(11), 1593–1604.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Toneatto, T., Blitz-Miller, T., Calderwood, K., Dragonetti, R., & Tsanos, A. (1997). Brief report: Cognitive distortions in heavy gambling. Journal of Gambling Studies, 13(3), 253–266.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Turner, N. E., & Liu, E. (1999). The naive human concept of random events. Paper presented at the 1999 conference of the American Psychological Association, Boston.Google Scholar
  29. Turner, N. E., Wiebe, J., Falkowski-Ham, A., Kelly, J., & Skinner, w. (2005). Public awareness of responsible gambling and gambling behaviours in Ontario. International Gambling Studies, 5(1), 95–112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Turner, N., Zangeneh, M., & Littman-Sharp, N. (2006). The experience of gambling and its role in problem gambling. International Gambling Studies, 6, 237–266.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Wagenaar, W. A. (1988). Paradoxes of gambling behavior. London: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  32. Walker, M. B. (1992). Irrational thinking among slot machine players. Journal of Gambling Studies, 8(3), 245–261.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Winters, K. C., Stinchfield, R. D., & Fulkerson, J. (1993). Toward the development of an adolescent gambling severity scale. Journal of Gambling Studies, 9(1), 63–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nigel E. Turner
    • 1
  • John Macdonald
    • 1
  • Mark Bartoshuk
    • 1
  • Masood Zangeneh
    • 1
  1. 1.SPHPRCentre for Addiction Mental HealthTorontoCanada

Personalised recommendations