Preventing Youth Problem Gambling

| February 5, 2013

Research is still new in the area of problem gambling, and particularly new with regard to prevention. While we don’t exactly know what prevents youth from developing gambling problems, we do have evidence around what is effective with preventing other problem behaviors among youth. In Lane County, we use the risk and protective factor framework developed by Hawkins & Catalano to address problem gambling, as well as model our program efforts after evidence-based prevention strategies promoted by the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention.

Related: What we’re doing in Lane County to address problem gambling.

Protective Factors

Youth are less likely to become problem gamblers if they have “protective factors” in their lives that help buffer the risks (Hawkins, Catalano, & Miller, 1992). Some of these protective factors include:

  • Support (family, community, school)
  • Positive outlook
  • Realistic boundaries & expectations
  • Internal locus of control
  • High self-esteem
  • Constructive use of time/contributing
  • Good problem solving skills
  • See the Search Institute’s list of ‘40 Developmental Assets’ for adolescents

Protective Factors — Social Development Strategy

The Social Development Strategy asks us to build opportunity, skills, and recognition among our youth. Researchers discovered that some children who, even while they were exposed to multiple risk factors, manage to avoid behavior problems later even though they were exposed to the same risks as children who developed behavior problems. Based on the research, they identified buffers, or protective factors, that work together to protect children from risks and the later development of problem behaviors.

Category: Problem Gambling

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