Gambling in young adults aged 17-24 years: a population-based study

Linda Hollén, Rita Dörner, Mark D. Griffiths, Alan Emond

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)
173 Downloads (Pure)


A large contemporary UK cohort study, the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, was used to investigate gambling behavior and to explore the antecedents of regular gambling in the 17–24-year age group. Participants completed computer-administered gambling surveys in research clinics, on paper, and online. The sample sizes were 3566 at age 17 years, 3940 at 20 years, and 3841 at 24 years; only 1672 completed all three surveys. Participation in gambling in the last year was reported by 54% of 17-year-olds, rising to 68% at 20 years, and 66% at 24 years, with little overall variance. Regular (weekly) gambling showed a strong gender efect, increasing among young men from 13% at 17 years to 18% at 20 years, and 17% at 24 years. Although gambling frequency increased between the ages of 17 and 20 years, gambling behaviors showed little variance between 20 and 24 years, except online gambling and betting on horseraces. The commonest forms of gambling were playing scratchcards, playing the lottery, and private betting with friends. Gambling on activities via the internet increased markedly between 17 and 24 years, especially among males. In the fully adjusted model, individual antecedents of regular gambling were being male, and having a low IQ, an external locus of control, and high sensation seeking scores. Parental gambling behavior and maternal educational background were associated with regular gambling in both sexes. Regular gambling was associated with smoking cigarettes and frequent and harmful use of alcohol, but no associations with depression were found.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)747–766
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Gambling Studies
Early online date18 Apr 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2020


  • adolescent gambling
  • youth gambling
  • gambling antecedents
  • internet gambling
  • longitudinal study
  • Alspac


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