Exploring differences in substance use among emerging adults at-risk for problem gambling, and/or problem video gaming

Devin J. Mills, Loredana Marchica, Matthew T. Keough, Jeffrey L. Derevensky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Both problem gambling (PG) and problem video gaming (PVG) contribute to physical, psychological, and interpersonal issues, and are associated with elevated substance use. This is particularly troublesome among emerging adults (18–27 years) who report high levels of substance use and represent a significant proportion of the gamblers and video game players. The present study assessed PG and PVG symptoms among 1,621 emerging adults (54.5% female; M = 20.55, SD = 2.70) in conjunction with their frequency of using cigarettes, alcohol, marijuana, and other drugs (e.g. cocaine, opioids). Results revealed that 6.1% and 22.7% of emerging adults were at-risk for PG or PVG, respectively. Those at at-risk for either PG or PVG had used substances more frequently than those who were either non-problematic or at low-risk. A small subset of participants (2.2%) were at-risk for both PG and PVG and were the most likely to report using cigarettes, marijuana, and other drugs frequently, even after accounting for the effects of age, gender, race, and gambling and video gaming frequency. As such, exhibiting a risk for both PG and PVG places individuals at greater risk for substance use. The implications of these findings to policy and future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)539-555
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Gambling Studies
Volume20
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2020

Keywords

  • Gambling
  • mental health
  • substance use
  • video gaming

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