Gambling and Adverse Life Events Among Urban Adolescents

Carla L. Storr, Grace P. Lee, Jeffrey L. Derevensky, Nicholas S. Ialongo, Silvia Martins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


This study explored the cross sectional association between adverse life events and gambling in a sample of 515 urban adolescents (average age 17, 55% male, 88% African American). Approximately half of the sample had gambled in the past year (51%); 78% of the gamblers gambled monthly and 39% had a gambling-related problem. On the other hand, 88% of the sample had experienced at least one life event in the past year, and those experiencing events tended to live in more disadvantaged neighborhoods. The mere acknowledgement of experiencing a stressful life event in the past year (yes/no) was not associated with an increase in odds of being a gambler, with gambling more frequently, or with having a gambling problem. However, when the context of the event was considered, an association was found between directly experiencing threatening and deviant/violent types of events and frequent gambling (OR > 2). Additionally, the probability of being a gambler increased as the number of events experienced increased (aOR = 1. 07, 95% CI = 1. 01, 1. 13, P = 0. 013), but problems among gamblers were not associated with the number of events experienced (aOR = 1. 01, 95% CI = 0. 92, 1. 11, P = 0. 876). During adolescence, life events appear to be connected more with the frequency of gambling rather than with problems related to gambling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)325-336
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Gambling Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2012


  • Adolescence
  • Gambling
  • Life events

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Psychology(all)


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