The study is the first to examine the relationship between parental monitoring during early adolescence and gambling behaviours in late adolescence and young adulthood.
In the journal Addiction, researchers write that adolescents who had poor parental supervision at age 11, and which continued to decline through age 14, were significantly more likely than their peers to be problem gamblers between ages 16-22.
The Columbia researchers and colleagues from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health followed 514 Baltimore youth surveyed on parental monitoring and gambling.
Two distinct patterns emerged: 85 per cent were in a "Stable group" that reported consistently high levels of parental monitoring; the remaining 15 per cent were in a "Declining group" that reported slightly lower levels of parental monitoring at age 11 with declining rates to age 14.
While the Stable group reported significantly higher levels of monitoring at each time point, the differences between the two groups were modest, yet statistically significant; both the Stable and Declining groups were fairly well monitored during early adolescence.
The Stable class was monitored approximately all of the time, and the Declining class was monitored most of the time.
"The finding that such a small difference in parental monitoring is associated with a significantly increased risk for problem gambling could be due to the current sample of predominantly African American youth from urban, low socioeconomic status (SES) environments in which parents tend to be more aware of the potential detrimental impact their environment has on their children and, thus, try to closely monitor the youth," said Silvia Martins, Mailman School of Public Health associate professor of Epidemiology, senior and corresponding author.


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