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Gambling by college athletes: An association between problem gambling and athletes

Don L. Rockey, Kim R. Beason, James D. Gilbert


This investigation compares the prevalence rates of pathological and problem gambling between college athletes and non-athletes. Participants in the study included 954 students enrolled in health and safety classes from nine universities belonging to the Southeastern Conference (SEC). Of these students, 129 (14%) were classified as athletes. The South Oaks Gambling Screen (SOGS), designed to measure pathological gambling, was used as the testing instrument. Participants were asked additional questions to determine athletic participation and to gather demographic information. Cross tabulations, Pearson chi-square tests and Cramer's V tests were used to determine if there were significant associations between groups. On the whole, significant associations were not found between athletes and non-athletes and pathological and problem gambling; however, a statistically significant association was found between problem gambling and female athletes. The prevalence rates of pathological and problem gambling among athletes were 6.2% and 6.2%, while the prevalence rates among non-athletes were 3.4% and 3.3%.


college students; athletes; gambling

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