Problem Gambling in Early Adulthood: a Population-Based Study

Alan M Emond*, Mark Griffiths, Linda I Hollen

*Corresponding author for this work

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

2 Citations (Scopus)
20 Downloads (Pure)


The aims of this study were to investigate stability of problem gambling between 20 and 24 years of age, and the antecedents and consequences of problem gambling at age 20 years. Young adult participants in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) completed computer-administered gambling surveys on paper, or online. Responses to the Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI) were complete for 2624 participants at 20 years, and 1921 participants at 24 years. Responses were categorised into ‘non problem’ (71-78%), ‘low risk gambling’ (16-21%), ‘moderate risk gambling’ (4-5.5%), and ‘problem gambling’ (1-1.5%). The overall frequency of moderate risk/problem gambling varied little between age 20 and 24 years and scratchcards, online betting and gambling were the most frequent activities. Problem gamblers at age 20 years had a history of hyperactivity and conduct problems in adolescence, high sensation seeking and an external locus of control. They were more likely to have mothers who had problems with gambling, reported less parental supervision, and higher social media usage. Moderate risk/problem gambling at age 20 years was associated with regular cigarette smoking, high levels of illicit drug use, and problematic use of alcohol at age 24 years. A significant minority of young adults (mainly males) showed problem gambling behaviours which appeared to be established by the age of 20 years and were associated with other potentially addictive behaviours.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Mental Health and Addiction
Publication statusPublished - 26 Oct 2020


  • Gambling
  • problem gambling
  • Youth
  • Young adults


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