Environmental correlates of gambling behavior among college students: A partial application of problem behavior theory to gambling


This study explored the relation between gambling behavior among college students and the perceived environment, the component of problem behavior theory (Jessor & Jessor, 1977) that assesses the ways that youth perceive their parents and peers. Two hundred and thirty-three ethnically diverse undergraduates at a large urban public university completed a questionnaire to measure the perceived environment and the South Oaks Gambling Screen to assess gambling behavior and problems. The perceived environment accounted for significant variance in gambling problems and gambling frequency with proximal components displaying stronger relations than distal components to the dependent variables. Men displayed higher rates than women of problem but not pathological gambling. These results provide further evidence of the salience of perceptions of parent and peer influences for understanding college gambling and support the perceived environment as a useful conceptualization of these perceptions. Directions for future research and suggestions for student service professionals are considered.

Publication Title

Journal of College Student Development