"As children grow older, it is normal for them to spend more time outside them home with friends, and for parents to give them the freedom to do so. But parents should be careful to stay engaged and be vigilant," said Dr. Martins. "Teenagers seek autonomy, but they may not yet have the maturity to keep them from engaging in risky behaviors."
Importantly, the study is the first to identify a way for parents to prevent future problems with gambling. Gender, race, socioeconomic status, impulsivity, aggression, and affiliation with peers who engage in antisocial behavior are all known risk factors for gambling, but all are difficult to intervene on. Parental monitoring, on the other hand, is known to be an effective intervention throughout early adolescence. While the intervention in this study lasted just one year and targeted academic achievement and aggression, the individuals were interviewed annually since first grade (when they were 6 years-old).
"This study identifies a characteristic that future gambling prevention and intervention programs can target," said Dr. Martins.
A potential explanation for the decline in gambling in the Stable group could also be explained by the fact that priorities begin to shift as adolescents mature, and the time previously spent on risky activities, such as gambling, is now often devoted to establishing careers and intimate relationships. Another reason suggested by Dr. Martins and colleagues is that with the advent of online social networking sites, young adults could be spending more free time on their smart phones, computers, and other electronic devices instead of gambling.
Youth Gambling: An Increasing Concern
Gambling among youth is a growing problem. Studies have shown that more than 80% of them have engaged in gambling, and as many as 13% meet the diagnostic criteria to be considered problem gamblers. This encompasses a preoccupation with g
|Contact: Stephanie Berger|
Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health