Academic journal article Journal of Leisure Research

Gambling in the Context of Other Recreation Activity: A Quantitative Comparison of Casual and Pathological Student Gamblers

Academic journal article Journal of Leisure Research

Gambling in the Context of Other Recreation Activity: A Quantitative Comparison of Casual and Pathological Student Gamblers

Article excerpt

Gambling has become, over the past decade, an important recreational activity in the United States. In 1975, Nevada was the only state that offered casino gambling, thirteen states had lotteries, and 68% of adults had gambled (Commission on the Review of the National Policy Toward Gambling, 1976). By 1997, all but two states (Hawaii and Utah) had ratified some form of commercial gambling and 86 percent of the North American adult population had participated in games of chance (National Opinion Research Center, 1999). In 1997 consumers in America were spending more than $50.9 billion gambling. More than one of every ten dollars spent on leisure activities was spent gambling, with more money being spent on gambling than was being spent on tickets to sporting events, movies, theme parks, video games, and recorded music combined (Christiansen, 1998).

Gambling in College Students. The increase in the prevalence of gambling has stimulated a considerable body of research that has examined the rates and motives of pathological gambling. Unfortunately, in this literature little attention has been given to college age populations. For example, of the 120 studies analyzed in Shaffer, Hall, and Vander Bilt's (1997) comprehensive meta-analysis that examined the incidence of problem gambling, most were conducted with adult samples. Only 12% of the studies directly addressed the population of college students. It is important to study gambling in college age populations because there is evidence that college age gamblers are more likely to have problems related to gambling than adults (Frank, 1987, Lesieur, 1988). In addition, most pathological gamblers report beginning gambling during this age (Custer, 1982; Livingston, 1974). Interventions designed to deal with pathological gambling may be most effective when focused on college age populations, i.e., before pathological gambling patterns well established.

Studies that have examined the incidence of pathological gambling in college students have produced a variety of prevalence estimates. For example, Lesieur, Cross, Frank, Welch, White, Rubenstein, Moseley, and Marie, (1991) gathered data from six campuses in five states including the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR). These authors found an overall pathological gambling rate of 5.5% (3.6% for students at UNR). Similarly, Oster (1992) looked at the gambling behavior of students enrolled in University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) introductory psychology courses. Eleven percent of students in the sample fell within the "probable pathological" group. Ladouceur, Dube, and Bujold (1994) determined the prevalence of pathological gambling from three colleges in the Quebec City area of Canada. The rate of occurrence for pathological gambling was 2.8% overall, with males displaying significantly higher rates (5.7%) than females (0.6%).

Although gambling creates a real problem for a minority of college age gamblers, the majority of student gamblers seem to be doing so without major problems. For example, Frank (1988) investigated underage gambling by college students on a campus located near the casinos of Atlantic City. He found that 66% of the students who had gambled were underage, and that the number remained stable over time. Students reported playing with less money than they were carrying, which suggested that most of their gambling was controlled and recreational (cf. Yuan, Yuan & Janes, 1996).

Motives for Gambling. Comparing the motives of college students for gambling with their motives for other recreational activities may help us understand what attracts young adults to gambling. In addition, comparing the motives of pathological college gamblers with the motives of recreational college gamblers may help us understand why some students become pathological gamblers and other students do not. However, most research on gambling motivation has examined the causes of adult pathological gambling and only a few studies have examined motivation for recreational gambling. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.