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Prevalence of gambling behaviours and their associations with socioemotional harm among 11–16 year olds in Wales: findings from the School Health Research Network survey

journal contribution
posted on 2021-02-10, 04:59 authored by Gerardo Melendez-TorresGerardo Melendez-Torres, Rebecca E Anthony, Gillian Hewitt, Simon Murphy, Graham F Moore
© 2019 The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the European Public Health Association. Background: Gambling opportunities are increasingly available and acceptable to many adolescents. Adolescent problem gambling has been associated with poor outcomes, such as lower reported physical and mental health. While much research has focussed on 'problem' gambling, analysing the distribution and determinants of experimentation with gambling is important in order to understand its normalization and population level consequences. This study describes the distribution of inequalities and socioemotional harms associated with adolescent gambling. Methods: Data were drawn from a subsample of students (N = 37 363) who completed gambling questions as part of the 2017 School Health Research Network Student Health and Wellbeing Survey, representing 193 secondary schools in Wales. Using imputations, we estimated a series of single-predictor and multi-predictor regressions for count of gambling behaviours, any gambling in the past 12 months and socioemotional harms of gambling. Results: Approximately two-fifths (41.0%) of respondents reported gambling in the past 12 months, of whom 16.2% reported feeling bad as a result of their own gambling. We found significant sex differences in gambling, with boys gambling more frequently than girls. Adolescents from more affluent families reported a higher count of gambling behaviours and socioemotional harms, although paradoxically, increasing affluence was also associated with lower prevalence of gambling in the last year. Non-White British ethnicities and students who felt less connected to school were more likely to engage in gambling and experience socioemotional harms. Conclusions: Our findings provide important new insights regarding risk factors in adolescence associated with gambling behaviours and socioemotional harms.


The School Health Research Network is a partnership between Centre for the Development and Evaluation of Complex Interventions for Public Health Improvement (DECIPHer) at Cardiff University, Welsh Government, Public Health Wales and Cancer Research UK, funded by Health and Care Research Wales via the National Centre for Health and Wellbeing Research. The work was undertaken with the support of the DECIPHer, a UKCRC Public Health Research Centre of Excellence. Joint funding (MR/KO232331/1) from the British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK, Economic and Social Research Council, Medical Research Council, the Welsh Government and the Wellcome Trust, under the auspices of the UK Clinical Research Collaboration, is gratefully acknowledged.


Publication Date



European Journal of Public Health






7p. (p. 451-457)


Oxford University Press



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