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J Gambl Stud. 2015 Dec;31(4):1431-1447. doi: 10.1007/s10899-014-9494-x.

At-Risk/Problematic Shopping and Gambling in Adolescence.

Author information

Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA.
School of Public Health, Jilin University, Changchun, China.
Department of Biostatistics, Yale School of Public Health, New Haven, CT, USA.
Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling, Guilford, CT, USA.
Problem Gambling Services, Middletown, CT, USA.
VA CT Healthcare System, West Haven, CT, USA.
Department of Neurobiology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA.
Yale Child Study Center, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA.
Contributed equally


Elevated levels of both pathological gambling (PG) and problem shopping (PS) have been reported among adolescents, and each is associated with a range of other negative health/functioning measures. However, relationships between PS and PG, particularly during adolescence, are not well understood. In this study, we explored the relationship between different levels of problem-gambling severity and health/functioning characteristics, gambling-related social experiences, gambling behaviors and motivations among adolescents with and without at-risk/problematic shopping (ARPS). Survey data from Connecticut high school students (n = 2,100) were analyzed using bivariate analyses and logistic regression modeling. Although at-risk/problematic gambling (ARPG) was not increased among adolescents with ARPS, adolescents with ARPG (vs non-gamblers) were more likely to report having experienced a growing tension or anxiety that could only be relieved by shopping and missing other obligations due to shopping. In comparison to the non-ARPS group, a smaller proportion of respondents in the ARPS group reported paid part-time employment, whereas a greater proportion of respondents reported excessive gambling by peers and feeling concerned over the gambling of a close family member. In general, similar associations between problem-gambling severity and measures of health/functioning and gambling-related behaviors and motivations were observed across ARPS and non-ARPS adolescents. However, associations were weaker among ARPS adolescents for several variables: engagement in extracurricular activities, alcohol and caffeine use and gambling for financial reasons. These findings suggest a complex relationship between problem-gambling severity and ARPS. They highlight the importance of considering co-occurring risk behaviors such as ARPS when treating adolescents with at-risk/problem gambling.


Adolescence; Behavioral addictions; Development; Pathological gambling; Problem shopping; Substance use

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