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Identifying the Relationship Between Mental Health Symptoms, Problem Behaviors and Gambling Among Adolescents

Background: Adolescence represents a significant social and psychological developmental period which can lead to the experimentation with multiple highrisk behaviours. Although associations with problem gambling in youth have been established in the research literature, there is lack of consistency in the results and measures used to assess these constructs while considering the impact of gender and age. The current study examined the relationship between mental health symptoms (anxiety, depression), problem behaviours (aggression, delinquency) and gambling among high-school youth.

Method: Questionnaire responses were collected from 6,818 junior and senior high-school students in a mid-western U.S. community.

Results: Statistical analyses revealed that all mental health symptoms and problem behaviors were related to an increase in gambling frequency and risk for a gambling problem. Of note, both aggressive and delinquent/antisocial problems held the highest risk for gambling problems compared to anxiety and depressive problems. Significant differences were also observed in terms of gender and age.

Conclusion: This study contributes to our understanding of mental health issues and risky behaviors among adolescents.


Jeremie Richard,Jeffrey Derevensky

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