How much gambling is too much? Identifying potential problem gambling among adolescents

Tiina A. Räsänen 1 , Tomi P. Lintonen 2 , Susanna U. Raisamo 3 , and Anne I. Konu 1
  • 1 School of Health Sciences, University of Tampere, Medisiinarinkatu 3, 33014 Tampere, Finland
  • 2 The Finnish Foundation for Alcohol Studies, Mannerheimintie 168 B, 00360 Helsinki, Finland
  • 3 National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), Mannerheimintie 166, 00360 Helsinki, Finland
Tiina A. Räsänen
  • Corresponding author
  • School of Health Sciences, University of Tampere, Medisiinarinkatu 3, 33014 Tampere, Finland
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, Tomi P. Lintonen
  • The Finnish Foundation for Alcohol Studies, Mannerheimintie 168 B, 00360 Helsinki, Finland
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, Susanna U. Raisamo
  • National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), Mannerheimintie 166, 00360 Helsinki, Finland
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and Anne I. Konu
  • School of Health Sciences, University of Tampere, Medisiinarinkatu 3, 33014 Tampere, Finland
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Abstract

Aims: Using a population-based sample of Finnish 12–17 year olds, this study explored gambling behaviour limits for potential problem gambling [South Oaks Gambling Screen – revised for adolescents (SOGS-RA)].

Methods: Data were obtained from the Youth Gambling Survey 2006, which is a cross-sectional survey of a nationally representative random sample of 5000 adolescents. Adolescents who participated in gambling at least once a month were selected from the data (n=1827, 25.1% were girls). The limits for gambling behaviour were detected using receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis. Logistic regression was used to study associations between these behavioural limits and potential problem gambling.

Results: For each of the gambling behaviour indicators plotted, the risk curves showed similar trends among boys and girls. The risk of being a potential problem gambler increased noticeably with increasing gambling intensity. The ROC analysis showed that the optimal behavioural cut-off values among 12–14 year olds for frequency was gambling more than 2–3 times a month, spending more than €2 per week on gambling, spending more than €8 in any 1 day on gambling, and gambling on more than two different games per year. For 15–17 year olds, cut-off values were gambling more than once a week, spending more than €4 per week and spending more than €12 in any 1 day on gambling. Cut-off for number of game types was same as it was for younger adolescents. Of the behavioural indicators those associated with money were the most robust.

Conclusion: Behavioural indicators can be used as initial markers of possible problem gambling.

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