Gender Differences in the Relationship Between Depression, Antisocial Behavior, Alcohol Use, and Gambling during Emerging Adulthood

  • Hyun-Jin JunEmail author
  • Paul Sacco
  • Charlotte Bright
  • Renee M. Cunningham-Williams
Original Article


Emerging adults show higher prevalence of harmful risk behaviors, such as alcohol use and gambling, compared to other age groups. In existing research, it appears that patterns of risk behaviors vary by gender during emerging adulthood. However, scarce research has examined gender differences in prospective relations among risk behaviors in emerging adults. This study explores gender differences in the developmental risks of depression, antisocial behavior, and alcohol use (Wave III) on gambling (Waves III and IV) in emerging adulthood in a sample of emerging adults (N = 8282) from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health. Results showed that antisocial behavior was associated with increased risk of alcohol use. Heavy drinking in early emerging adulthood was associated with increased risk of gambling later, but depression was marginally protective of gambling. Among men, contemporaneous associations between alcohol use and heavy drinking were stronger than among women. Among women, earlier binge drinking conferred increased risk of later gambling problems, but in men negative relationships between the two were found. The results highlight the importance of ongoing efforts in early prevention and intervention for the co-occurrence of risk behaviors in emerging adulthood.


Gambling Depression Antisocial behavior Alcohol use Gender differences Emerging adults 



This research uses data from Add Health, a program project directed by Kathleen Mullan Harris and designed by J. Richard Udry, Peter S. Bearman, and Kathleen Mullan Harris at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and funded by grant P01-HD31921 from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, with cooperative funding from 23 other federal agencies and foundations. Special acknowledgment is due Ronald R. Rindfuss and Barbara Entwisle for assistance in the original design. Information on how to obtain the Add Health data files is available on the Add Health website ( No direct support was received from grant P01-HD31921 for this analysis.

Compliance with Ethical Standards


This study was supported by the competitive dissertation grant from University of Maryland School of Social Work.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Informed Consent

Add Health participants provided written informed consent for participation in all aspects of Add Health in accordance with the University of North Carolina School of Public Health Institutional Review Board guidelines that are based on the Code of Federal Regulations on the Protection of Human Subjects 45CFR46:


  1. Afifi, T. O., Nicholson, R., Martins, S. S., & Sareen, J. (2016). A longitudinal study of the temporal relation between problem gambling and mental and substance use disorders among young adults. The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 61(2), 102–111.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ahrnsbrak, R., Bose, J., Hedden, S. L., Lipari, R. N., & Park-Lee, E. (2017). Key substance use and mental health indicators in the United States: Results from the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Rockville, MD: Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.Google Scholar
  3. Barajas-Gonzalez, R. G., & Brooks-Gunn, J. (2014). Income, neighborhood stressors, and harsh parenting: test of moderation by ethnicity, age, and gender. Journal of Family Psychology, 28(6), 855–866.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Blaszczynski, A., & Nower, L. (2002). A pathways model of problem and pathological gambling. Addiction, 97(5), 487–499.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 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(3), 223–236.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Byrne, B. M. (2012). Structural equation modeling with Mplus: Basic concepts, applications, and programming. New York, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
  7. Caldeira, K. M., Arria, A. M., O’Grady, K. E., Vincent, K. B., Robertson, C., & Welsh, C. J. (2017). Risk factors for gambling and substance use among recent college students. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 179, 280–290.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chou, C. P., & Bentler, P. M. (1990). Model modification in covariance structure modeling: a comparison among likelihood ratio, Lagrange multiplier, and Wald tests. Multivariate Behavioral Research, 25(1), 115–136.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Dussault, F., Brendgen, M., Vitaro, F., Wanner, B., & Tremblay, R. E. (2011). Longitudinal links between impulsivity, gambling problems and depressive symptoms: a transactional model from adolescence to early adulthood. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 52(2), 130–138.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Edgren, R., Castrén, S., Jokela, M., & Salonen, A. H. (2016). At-risk and problem gambling among Finnish youth: the examination of risky alcohol consumption, tobacco smoking, mental health and loneliness as gender-specific correlates. Nordic Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 33(1), 61–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Evans-Polce, R. J., Vasilenko, S. A., & Lanza, S. T. (2015). Changes in gender and racial/ethnic disparities in rates of cigarette use, regular heavy episodic drinking, and marijuana use: ages 14 to 32. Addictive Behaviors, 41, 218–222.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Exner-Cortens, D., Eckenrode, J., & Rothman, E. (2013). Longitudinal associations between teen dating violence victimization and adverse health outcomes. Pediatrics, 131(1), 71–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Fernández, A. S., & Arango, N. M. (2013). Dating violence in relation to problem drinking and risky sexual behaviors. International E-Journal of Criminal Sciences, 7, 1–26.Google Scholar
  14. Guo, G., Roettger, M. E., & Cai, T. (2008). The integration of genetic propensities into social-control models of delinquency and violence among male youths. American Sociological Review, 73(4), 543–568.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Gupta, R., Nower, L., Derevensky, J. L., Blaszczynski, A., Faregh, N., & Temcheff, C. (2013). Problem gambling in adolescents: an examination of the pathways model. Journal of Gambling Studies, 29(3), 575–588.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Harris, K. M. (2013). The add health study: Design and accomplishments. Chapel Hill, NC: Carolina Population Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.Google Scholar
  17. Harris, K. M., Halpern, C. T., Whitsel, E., Hussey, J., Tabor, J., Entzel, P., & Udry, J. R. (2009). The national longitudinal study of adolescent to adult health: research design [WWW document]. Accessed 16 February 2016.
  18. Hodgins, D. C., von Ranson, K. M., & Montpetit, C. R. (2016). Problem drinking, gambling and eating among undergraduate university students. What are the links? International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 14(2), 181–199.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hu, L. T., & Bentler, P. M. (1999). Cutoff criteria for fit indexes in covariance structure analysis: conventional criteria versus new alternatives. Structural Equation Modeling: A Multidisciplinary Journal, 6(1), 1–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Kline, R. B. (2011). Principles and practice of structural equation modeling (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Guilford press.Google Scholar
  21. LaBrie, R. A., Shaffer, H. J., LaPlante, D. A., & Wechsler, H. (2003). Correlates of college student gambling in the United States. Journal of American College Health, 52(2), 53–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Lim, J. Y., & Lui, C. K. (2016). Longitudinal associations between substance use and violence in adolescence through adulthood. Journal of Social Work Practice in the Addictions, 16(1–2), 72–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Martens, M. P., Rocha, T. L., Cimini, M. D., Diaz-Myers, A., Rivero, E. M., & Wulfert, E. (2009). The co-occurrence of alcohol use and gambling activities in first-year college students. Journal of American College Health, 57(6), 597–602.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Martin, R. J., Usdan, S., Cremeens, J., & Vail-Smith, K. (2014). Disordered gambling and co-morbidity of psychiatric disorders among college students: An examination of problem drinking, anxiety and depression. Journal of Gambling Studies, 30(2), 321–333.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Mason, W. A., Hitch, J. E., Kosterman, R., McCarty, C. A., Herrenkohl, T. I., & David Hawkins, J. (2010). Growth in adolescent delinquency and alcohol use in relation to young adult crime, alcohol use disorders, and risky sex: a comparison of youth from low-versus middle-income backgrounds. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 51(12), 1377–1385.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Muthén, L. K., & Muthén, B. O. (1998–2012). Mplus user's guide (7th ed.). Log Angeles, CA: Muthén & Muthén.Google Scholar
  27. Needham, B. L., & Austin, E. L. (2010). Sexual orientation, parental support, and health during the transition to young adulthood. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 39(10), 1189–1198.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Pulkkinen, L., & Pitkänen, T. (1994). A prospective study of the precursors to problem drinking in young adulthood. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 55(5), 578–587.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Radloff, L. S. (1977). The CES-D scale a self-report depression scale for research in the general population. Applied Psychological Measurement, 1(3), 385–401.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. SAS Institute Inc. (2011). Base SAS® 9.3 Procedures Guide. Cary, NC: SAS Institute Inc.Google Scholar
  31. Schulenberg, J. E., & Maggs, J. L. (2002). A developmental perspective on alcohol use and heavy drinking during adolescence and the transition to young adulthood. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, Supplement, 14, 54–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Slutske, W. S., Jackson, K. M., & Sher, K. J. (2003). The natural history of problem gambling from age 18 to 29. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 112(2), 263–274.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Sussman, S., & Arnett, J. J. (2014). Emerging adulthood: developmental period facilitative of the addictions. Evaluation & the Health Professions, 37(2), 147–155.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Walker, D. M., Clark, C., & Folk, J. L. (2010). The relationship between gambling behavior and binge drinking, hard drug use, and paying for sex. UNLV Gaming Research & Review Journal, 14(1), 15–26.Google Scholar
  35. Wiersma, J. D., & Fischer, J. L. (2014). Young adult drinking partnerships: alcohol-related consequences and relationship problems six years later. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 75(4), 704–712.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Winters, K. C., Stinchfield, R. D., Botzet, A., & Anderson, N. (2002). A prospective study of youth gambling behaviors. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 16(1), 3–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Wong, G., Zane, N., Saw, A., & Chan, A. K. K. (2013). Examining gender differences for gambling engagement and gambling problems among emerging adults. Journal of Gambling Studies, 29(2), 171–189.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Social WorkUniversity of MarylandBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.Brown SchoolWashington University in St. LouisSt. LouisUSA

Personalised recommendations