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Impulsive Kindergartners May Turn to Gambling
Date:3/3/2009

It's just one of the serious consequences these children are prone to, study suggests

TUESDAY, March 3 (HealthDay News) -- Kindergarteners who are impulsive and inattentive could be susceptible to gambling by the time they reach sixth grade, a Canadian study suggests.

Impulsiveness can lead to many problems, such as dropping out of school, substance abuse, antisocial behavior and unemployment, and now gambling has been added to the list, the researchers said.

"There is something that's an underlying factor for both the impulsivity and the gambling," said lead researcher Dr. Linda S. Pagani, a professor at Sainte-Justine University Hospital Research Center and the University of Montreal. "In adulthood, problem gambling is considered an impulse disorder," she added.

Teachers can often see a potential problem in children who are easily distracted, restless and inattentive, Pagani said. "These are things that are problematic in kindergarten," she said.

The children in the study weren't children who had been diagnosed with a learning problem, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Pagani said. "This is on typically developing children," she said.

Pagani said that about 15 percent of children suffer from these impulse problems, especially boys. "We need to focus on finding ways to improve their attention in the early childhood years," she said.

The findings were published in the March issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

For their study, Pagani and her colleagues included 163 kindergartners. The researchers asked their teachers to rate the children's inattentiveness, distractibility and hyperactivity on a scale of one to nine. Six years later, when the children were 11 and in the sixth grade, the researchers asked them how often they played cards or bingo for money, bought lottery tickets, played video games or video poker for mone
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