Clinical Psychology 13 (2020), 1-2, 47-62

Original scientific paper

Youth Problem Gamblers – Their Frequency of Gambling and the Perception of the Gambling Industry

Neven Ricijaš - Faculty of Education and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia

Fulltext (croatian, pages 47-62).pdf

Although legally prohibited, juvenile gambling and consequentially developed adverse psychosocial consequences, attract increased scientific and professional attention of mental health professionals, especially due to the vulnerability for the development of a gambling addiction. The aim of this paper is to explore differences in the frequency of youth gambling with regard to the level of developed adverse psychosocial consequences, and specifically their perception of availability and accessibility of gambling venues in Croatia. The study included a convenient sample of N = 615 male high school students from Zagreb and Split (Mage = 16.16; SDage = 1.21) of all three types of educational programs, from the first to the final grade. Beside the basic sociodemographic variables, the study used the Gambling Activity Questionnaire, Gambling Problem Severity Subscale (GPSS) and the Gambling Industry Perception Questionnaire. In addition to the descriptive statistics and correlations, ANOVA and Kruskal-Wallis tests were performed, with their respective post-hoc tests. The results show that adolescents who, according to the GPSS score, have a high-level of adverse psychosocial consequences related to gambling (e.g. red light) gamble more frequently, especially high-risk games (sports betting and slot machines), they perceive games and gambling venues as more accessible to minors (despite legal prohibitions), and are of the opinion that the state should prescribe a lower age (<18) for legal inclusion in gambling. The results unambiguously point to the more intensive risky behaviour of young people who have developed gambling related psychosocial problems, and their more liberal perception of the gambling industry in Croatia, as well as the increased accessibility to minors. The results are interpreted in accordance with previous youth gambling studies in Croatia, as well as the indirect importance of the impact the gambling market has on the attitudes of young people and the normalization of this risky industry. This is especially true in the context of expanded accessibility and accessibility in our country.

gambling, adolescents, gambling industry, gambling addiction

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