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A typological study of gambling and substance use among adolescent students

Nigel E. Turner, Anca Ialomiteanu, Angela Paglia-Boak, Edward M. Adlaf


Cluster analysis was used to define subpopulations of youth involved in drugs, alcohol, and gambling. Data from a 2001 cross-sectional survey of Ontario grade 7 to 13 students (N = 2,243; mean age 15 years; 51% males) were examined. The analysis suggested four clusters: Mainstreamers (66.0%), Party Goers (26.2%), Drug Takers (5.9%), and Heavy Gamblers (1.9%). This cluster structure was validated across a number of additional external variables that were not used in the original cluster analysis. The findings indicated that Drug Takers and Heavy Gamblers formed two distinct clusters. Probable pathological gamblers were found in all four clusters, but they were most concentrated in the heavy gambling cluster. The results suggest that troubled youths are not a single entity, but display heterogeneity in their configuration of risk behaviours.

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