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      Effects of neighborhood disadvantage on problem gambling and alcohol abuse

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          Background and aims

          Based on social disorganization theory, the present study examined the effects of neighborhood disadvantage on gambling behaviors and problems as well as on alcohol use and abuse.


          Findings were based on a combined sample of two representative U.S. telephone surveys of gambling and substance use. One survey ( n = 2,631) included adults 18 years and older and the second survey (2,274) included young people aged 14–21 years old.


          Neighborhood disadvantage had a highly significant effect on problem gambling over and above the significant individual effects of gender, age, race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status. Alcohol abuse did not show the same relationship to neighborhood disadvantage as did problem gambling. Furthermore, when neighborhood disadvantage was high and individual socioeconomic status was low, the highest levels of problem gambling were observed.


          This study provides strong evidence for the effects of neighborhood ecology on the occurrence of problem gambling.

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          Most cited references 19

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          Neighborhood disadvantage, stress, and drug use among adults.

          This paper explores the relationships among neighborhood disadvantage, stress, and the likelihood of drug use in a sample of adults (N = 1,101). Using the 1995 Detroit Area Study in conjunction with tract-level data from the 1990 census, we find a positive relationship between neighborhood disadvantage and drug use, and this relationship remains statistically significant net of controls for individual-level socioeconomic status. Neighborhood disadvantage is moderately associated with drug related behaviors, indirectly through increased social stressors and higher levels of psychological distress among residents of disadvantaged neighborhoods. A residual effect of neighborhood disadvantage remains, net of a large number of socially relevant controls. Finally, results from interactive models suggest that the relationship between neighborhood disadvantage and drug use is most pronounced among individuals with lower incomes.
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            The prevalence of problem gambling among U.S. adolescents and young adults: results from a national survey.

            A random telephone survey was conducted with a representative sample of 2,274 U.S. residents aged 14-21. The prevalence of problem gambling, as measured by the SOGS-RA, was 2.1%. Sixty-eight percent (68%) of the respondents had gambled in the past year, and 11% had gambled more often than twice per week. Males had much higher gambling involvement than females, and gambling involvement increased among older respondents. Blacks were less likely than average to have gambled in the past year, but if they gambled, they were more likely to do so frequently. Low SES respondents were less likely to have gambled in the past year, but if they gambled, they were more likely to be problem gamblers. Life transitions that are associated with assuming adult roles (employment, living independently of parents, non-student status) are also associated with greater gambling involvement. The rates of problem and pathological gambling were lower than those in an adult survey conducted earlier, when measured with the same questionnaire.
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              Shared predictors of youthful gambling, substance use, and delinquency.

              Given that gambling, alcohol misuse, other drug use, and delinquency are correlated, it is hypothesized that these problem behaviors have shared antecedents. Measures from 3 explanatory domains--sociodemographic factors (age, race, and socioeconomic status), individual factors (impulsivity and moral disengagement), and socialization factors (parental monitoring and peer delinquency)--were tested for links to problem behaviors in 2 longitudinal samples of adolescents. Black youth had lower levels of problem behaviors than Whites. Impulsivity was a significant predictor of alcohol misuse for females and delinquency for males. Moral disengagement predicted gambling for males. Parental monitoring showed a significant inverse relationship to alcohol misuse and other substance use for males. Peer delinquency showed numerous prospective paths to youth problem behaviors for both genders. Copyright 2005 APA, all rights reserved.

                Author and article information

                Journal of Behavioral Addictions
                Akadémiai Kiadó, co-published with Springer Science+Business Media B.V., Formerly Kluwer Academic Publishers B.V.
                1 June 2013
                12 April 2013
                : 2
                : 2
                : 82-89
                [ 1 ] Research Institute on Addictions, University at Buffalo, The State University of New York, New York, NY, USA
                [ 2 ] Research Institute on Addictions, University at Buffalo, 1021 Main Street, Buffalo, NY, 14203, USA
                Author notes
                [* ] +1 716-887-2505, +1 716-887-2477, barnes@
                © 2013 The Author(s)

                Open Access statement. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium for non-commercial purposes, provided the original author and source are credited, a link to the CC License is provided, and changes – if any – are indicated.

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