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J Adolesc Health. 2014 Aug;55(2):188-94. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2014.02.001. Epub 2014 Mar 18.

Transitions in gambling participation during late adolescence and young adulthood.

Author information

  • 1The Methodology Center, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania.
  • 2Department of Mental Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland.
  • 3Department of Mental Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland; Department of Family and Community Health, University of Maryland School of Nursing, Baltimore, Maryland.
  • 4Department of Mental Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland; Department of Epidemiology, Columbia University, New York, New York. Electronic address:



The purpose of this study was to examine transitions in gambling participation from late adolescence into emerging adulthood and to identify factors (i.e., gender, race, intervention status, lunch status, conduct disorder, parental monitoring, neighborhood environment, and substance use) that might influence these transitions.


Markov modeling was used to describe the movement between past-year gambling states (i.e., nongambling and gambling) across 5 years. Annual data on the past-year gambling behavior and substance use were collected from 515 young men and women starting at the age of 17 years.


Past-year gambling declined from 51% prevalence at the age of 17 years to 21% prevalence at the age of 22 years. Participants who reported no past-year gambling at a particular annual assessment had more than an 80% probability of also reporting no past-year gambling at the following assessment. Men were 1.07-2.82 times more likely than women to transition from past-year nongambling to gambling year to year, and women were 1.27-5.26 times more likely than men to transition from past-year gambling to nongambling year to year. In addition, gender and past-year tobacco use interacted such that men who used tobacco were most likely (and men who did not use tobacco least likely) to gamble at baseline.


Transition rates between gambling states appear to be relatively stable over time from late adolescence into emerging adulthood; however, men and those who engage in substance use may be at an increased risk of gambling participation.


Adolescence; Alcohol; Drugs; Emerging adulthood; Gambling; Latent transition analysis; Marijuana; Markov models; Tobacco

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