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J Gambl Stud. 2018 Jun;34(2):339-359. doi: 10.1007/s10899-017-9694-2.

Patterns of Gambling Activities and Gambling Problems Among Italian High School Students: Results from a Latent Class Analysis.

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Department of Sociology and Business Law, University of Bologna, Strada Maggiore 45, 40125, Bologna, Italy.
Department of Biomedical and Neuromotor Sciences, University of Bologna, Via San Giacomo 12, 40126, Bologna, Italy.
Department of Economics, University of Bologna, Strada Maggiore 45, 40125, Bologna, Italy.


This study aims to provide an estimate of the prevalence of gambling among Italian adolescents and a description of their patterns of gambling activities (PGAs) using a latent class analysis on 13 different types of games. A nationwide sample of 10,959 Italian high school students was recruited in 2013. We assessed problem gambling using the South Oaks Gambling Screen: Revisited for Adolescent (SOGS-RA) scale. Approximately half (50.6%) of students reported gambling at least once in the previous year; 5.0% of them were problem gamblers and 9.1% were at-risk gamblers according to their SOGS-RA scores. Eight PGAs were identified, among which heavy players (1.7% of students) could be classified as problem gamblers and broad skill players (2.0%) and lotteries & sports players (2.4%) as "at-risk" players. These high-risk classes were consistently associated with risky behaviours in terms of substance use, school performance, money spent on gambling and family environment; the other five classes identified low-risk players associated with safe behaviours. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to identify PGAs among Italian adolescents. Problem gamblers are not a homogeneous group in terms of patterns of gambling activities and are associated with different risk factors, among which environmental factors, such as parents' gambling attitude and behaviour, deserve special attention. The acknowledgment of such patterns and risk factors could be useful in developing sensible public policies addressing prevention strategies and regulatory instruments.


Adolescent gambling; Latent class analysis; Patterns of gambling; Problem gambling; SOGS-RA

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