Date of Award

12-2009

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Gabriel Kuperminc - Chair

Second Advisor

James Emshoff

Third Advisor

Marci Culley

Fourth Advisor

Rita Noonan

Abstract

Problem gambling currently affects between 5-7% of youth ages 12-18 (Hardooon & Derevensky, 2002); however, rates of problem gambling among youth who are involved with the Juvenile Justice System are more than twice that of school sample rates (Lieberman & Cuadrado, 2002). Furthermore, disordered gambling often co-occurs with substance use and criminal activity (Huang & Boyer, 2007), issues that are compounded in the Juvenile Justice population. The current study assessed gambling behaviors and risk factors of 145 youth involved in juvenile, juvenile drug, and family courts. Results indicated that nearly 13% of these youth are currently problem gamblers, and that males and African-Americans had higher problem gambling rates than female and Caucasian youth. Furthermore, gambling-related crime, substance use, scope of gambling activities, and time in detention facilities were all predictive of problem gambling severity, while suicidal ideation, urban environment, and lottery sales per capita were not. Finally, having a parent with a gambling problem also emerged as a risk factor;however, the risk was greater for males than for females. These results present a distinct need for youth to be screened for gambling problems upon entering and exiting the Juvenile Justice System, and for prevention and intervention services to be offered within juvenile and family court settings. Furthermore, communities need to take an active role in preventing youth gambling problems through increasing public awareness and insuring that appropriate and accurate messages reflecting gambling opportunities and outcomes are presented.

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