Adolescents tend to be engaged in risky behaviors, which is specifically common among vulnerable groups. Gambling among adolescents has become a growing concern as it is reported that 85% of high-school students report that they have gambled, and 8% of teenagers display pathological patterns related to gambling (Zhai et al., 2017). It has been acknowledged that gambling issues are associated with a higher risk of binge drinking, which is a serious public health concern characterized by significant comorbidity. In their study, Zhai et al. (2017) analyze the relationship between perceived family and peer gambling and binge drinking and problem gambling among adolescents. This paper includes a brief review of the article by Zhai et al. (2017) and two possible strategies that can be instrumental in decreasing problem gambling and alcohol use among teenagers.
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The primary purpose of the study conducted by Zhai et al. (2017) was to explore the link between perceived family and peer gambling and binge drinking and problem gambling. The research included 2,750 high-school students of several educational facilities. The authors state that both family gambling and peer gambling contribute to binge drinking and pathological gambling in adolescents. Zhai et al. (2017) also note that prevention programs may need to include families and closely affiliated peers to prevent alcohol use and problem gambling. The study is based on sound methodology, but it has certain limitations, including comparatively small sample size and rather a homogeneous population.
The extensive research of adolescent gambling shows that several barriers to reducing problem gambling exist. One of these challenges is the stigma associated with the issue (Derevensky & Gilbeau, 2015). Teenagers are often unwilling to seek help due to their fear of being stigmatized or bringing their families into an undesirable position. Another barrier is adolescents’ non-acknowledgment of the problem as many teenagers do not think their gambling can become a considerable issue and cause many other health outcomes (Kourgiantakis, Stark, Lobo, & Tepperman, 2016). Finally, the low awareness of educators and clinicians regarding gambling and binge drinking prevalence and prevention is a potent barrier to reducing the problem (Kourgiantakis et al., 2016). These challenges are also aggregated by the lack of resources as prevention programs often receive limited funding.
Although some prevention programs have been developed, they have certain weaknesses yet to be addressed. When developing a plan to prevent the issue, one of the strategies to use is the focus on potential barriers (Nagy & Fawcett, 2018). As mentioned above, different stakeholders’ awareness of the problem is one of the central challenges in reducing the issue (Kourgiantakis et al., 2016). Therefore, an effective prevention program may entail training provided to clinicians, educators, and adolescents. The training should encompass such elements as gambling and binge drinking problem prevalence, comorbidity, risk factors, and prevention strategies. According to Nagy and Fawcett (2018), an efficient prevention plans should reach affected populations. It has been found that close family and peer members play an important role in preventing adolescents from binge drinking and problem gambling (Derevensky & Gilbeau, 2015; Zhai et al., 2017). Hence, it is critical to develop prevention plan that would involve family members and close others.
In conclusion, the study by Zhai et al. (2017) provides valuable insights into the relationship between perceived family and peer gambling and binge drinking and gambling among adolescents. It is clear that prevention programs should involve family members and peers of at-risk adolescents. Raising people’s awareness and providing training to major stakeholders are also important elements of effective prevention projects. The focus can be on such areas as the prevalence and comorbidity of problem gambling and binge drinking in teenagers, as well as risk factors and prevention strategies.
Derevensky, J. L., & Gilbeau, L. (2015). Adolescent gambling: Twenty-five years of research. The Canadian Journal of Addiction, 6(2), 4-12.
Kourgiantakis, T., Stark, S., Lobo, D. S. S.., & Tepperman, L. (2016). Parent problem gambling: A systematic review of prevention programs for children. Journal of Gambling Issues, 1(33), 8-29. Web.
Nagy, J., & Fawcett, S. B. (2018). Section 4: Developing successful strategies: Planning to win. Web.
Zhai, Z. W., Yip, S. W., Steinberg, M. A., Wampler, J., Hoff, R. A., Krishnan-Sarin, S., & Potenza, M. N. (2017). Relationships between perceived family gambling and peer gambling and adolescent problem gambling and binge-drinking. Journal of Gambling Studies, 33(4), 1169-1185. Web.