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Int J Adolesc Med Health. 2016 Jan 20;29(5). pii: /j/ijamh.2017.29.issue-5/ijamh-2015-0100/ijamh-2015-0100.xml. doi: 10.1515/ijamh-2015-0100.

The winner takes it all? Characteristics of adolescent at-risk/problem gamblers in Switzerland.



Gambling has and still entertains people in almost all societies throughout the world. Western societies have faced considerable changes in the amount and accessibility of gambling possibilities during the last decades, and the rates of both adolescent gamblers and problem gamblers have increased significantly.


To determine the characteristics of at-risk and problem adolescent gamblers in Switzerland.


The study population consisted of 3134 students (1669 females) attending post-mandatory education in 15 randomly chosen centres. Participants were divided into non- (n=2207), non-problematic (n=754) and at-risk/ problematic gamblers (n=176).


Both gambling groups were compared to non-gamblers on socio-demographic measures, substance use and Internet use. Overall, 29.6% had gambled during the past year and 5.6% had gambled in a risky or problematic way. Compared to non-gamblers and after controlling for potential confounders, non-problem gamblers were significantly more likely to be male, apprentices and to misuse alcohol. At-risk/problematic gamblers were additionally more likely to smoke cannabis, to be problematic Internet users and to be non-Swiss than non-gamblers.


At-risk and problematic adolescent gambling is associated with other health risk behaviours. Health practitioners should include gambling in the psycho-social screening and preventive counselling of adolescents.


adolescence; problem gambling; risk behaviour

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