Methods: The sample was comprised of young adults (ages 18-26; Mean age=22.8) self-identifying as European American (n=9,909, 52.4% female) or African American (n=3,335, 56.4 % female) who were selected among the larger sample of those participating in Wave III (n=15,170) of the restricted-use National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health. For these analyses, we examined gambling correlates using logistic regression with a binary gambling involvement outcome variable: gambled in two or more categories of games, gambled within only one category or less. Data were stratified by race and gender, to test the effects of independent risk and protective factors associated with race and gender.
Results: Among African American females, after simultaneously considering all risk factors, childhood physical discipline (OR=1.41, less happy in current residing neighborhood (OR=1.51, [95% C.I. 1.03-2.19]), past year weekly alcohol use (OR=1.56, [95% C.I. 1.06-2.28]), and past year cannabis use (OR=1.68, [95% C.I. 1.26-2.23]) were associated with gambling involvement in the AA cohort. In the African American male cohort, childhood neglect, past year weekly alcohol use, past year cannabis use, and 10 or more lifetime sexual partners were significantly associated with gambling involvement.
Within the European American female cohort, childhood physical discipline (OR=1.07, [95% C.I. 1.02-1.34]), childhood neglect (OR=1.14, [95% C.I. 1.00-1.29]), past-year weekly alcohol use (OR=1.64, [95% C.I. 1.43-1.89]), past year cannabis use (OR=1.28, [95% C.I. 1.11-1.48]), and current smoking (OR=1.27, [95% C.I. 1.13-1.44]) were associated with increased gambling involvement. Less social acceptance among peers (OR=0.72, [95% C.I. 0.53-0.98]) reduced the risk of gambling. In the European American male cohort, childhood neglect, selling illicit drugs, 10 or more lifetime sexual partners, past year weekly alcohol use, past year cannabis use were significantly associated with gambling involvement. Weekly attendance at religious services was protective and reduced the risk of gambling involvement in all observed cohorts.
Conclusion and Implications: Distinct risk and protective factors were found within African American and European American females, indicating that some predictors of gambling are race and gender specific. While concurrently recognizing that males are at a greater risk for gambling related problems, identifying risk factors by gender may increase much needed focus on gambling problems among females. Additional research is warranted in this area, which may lead to improved and more precisely targeted prevention and treatment strategies.