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Adult Gambling Problems and Histories of Mental Health and Substance Use: Findings from a Prospective Multi-Wave Australian Cohort Study

Little is known about the cumulative effect of adolescent and young adult mental health difficulties and substance use problems on gambling behaviour in adulthood. We use data from one of Australia’s longest running studies of social and emotional development to examine the extent to which: (1) mental health symptoms (depressive and anxiety symptoms) and substance use (weekly binge drinking, tobacco, and cannabis use) from adolescence (13–18 years) into young adulthood (19–28 years) predict gambling problems in adulthood (31–32 years); and (2) risk relationships differ by sex. Analyses were based on responses from 1365 adolescent and young adult participants, spanning seven waves of data collection (1998–2014). Persistent adolescent to young adult binge drinking, tobacco use and cannabis use predicted gambling at age 31–32 years (OR = 2.30–3.42). Binge drinking and tobacco use in young adulthood also predicted gambling at age 31–32 years (OR = 2.04–2.54). Prior mental health symptoms were not associated with gambling and no risk relationships differed by sex. Findings suggest that gambling problems in adulthood may be related to the earlier development of other addictive behaviours, and that interventions targeting substance use from adolescence to young adulthood may confer additional gains in preventing later gambling behaviours.

History

Journal

Journal of Clinical Medicine

Volume

10

Issue

7

Article number

1406

Pagination

1 - 13

Publisher

MDPI AG

Location

Basel, Swtizerland

eISSN

2077-0383

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal