Parental and peer influences on emerging adult problem gambling: Does exposure to problem gambling reduce stigmatizing perceptions and increase vulnerability?
Keywords:problem gambling, emerging adults, stigma, peers, parents
Research has identified 18 to 30 years olds as the biggest spenders on gambling activities, with significantly higher prevalence of gambling problems than other age groups. Identifying the factors that influence the development of gambling problems in young people is important for guiding prevention strategies. This study aimed to analyse how emerging adult problem gambling is influenced by the people around them. In particular, we explored whether perceived parental and peer problem gambling predicted emerging adult problem gambling, and whether reduced gambling self-stigma mediated these relationships. A community sample of 188 Australian gamblers aged 18 to 29 (M = 21.41, SD = 2.99) completed three versions of the Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI) and the Gambling Perception Scale. Results indicated that perceived parental and peer gambling were positively related to emerging adult problem gambling. While reduced gambling helping stigma was related to higher problem gambling, stigma did not mediate the links between significant others' gambling and emerging adult problem gambling. We conclude that social influences are important in the development of problem gambling for young people, and that older male emerging adults who have a gambling mother are at most risk of problem gambling.
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