The possible detrimental effects of gambling on essential developmental tasks such as academic performance remain unknown. The two longitudinal studies conducted under this research project sought to clarify the magnitude and significance of the possible link between gambling and academic performance.
Gambling appears to negatively affect adolescents’ academic progress.
Three scenarios are considered: 1) gambling is related to a decline in academic performance; 2) gambling and academic performance are related due to common antecedent factors such as high sociofamilial adversity or self-regulation deficits; 3) gambling and academic performance are related through concomitant behaviours, such as psychotropic drug use.
The results of the first study show that the initial link between gambling and academic performance in early adolescence is explained by antecedent risk factors (for example, self-regulation deficits or high sociofamilial adversity). However, gambling appears to negatively affect adolescents’ academic progress beyond this initial link.
The second study relates adolescent gambling to high school graduation rates through a decline in academic performance.
Important lessons for generic and specific prevention can be drawn from the results.
Frank Vitaro, Université de Montréal
Deposit of the research report: June 2016