BACKGROUND: This study examined the correlates of gambling behavior among eighth-grade students.
METHODS: Children (n = 15,865) enrolled in publicly funded schools in Oregon completed the 2008 Oregon Healthy Teens survey. Multivariate logistic regression analyses assessed the combined and independent associations between risk and protective factors with active gambling among male and female youth separately.
RESULTS: Approximately 17% of eighth-grade girls and 33% of eighth-grade boys had gambled during the past 3 months. Most health risk behaviors were positively associated with gambling. However, gambling was also positively associated with frequent physical activity participation and, among boys, eating 5 daily servings of fruits and vegetables. Logistic regression analyses identified significant differences among risk and protective factors between active gamblers and non-gamblers. Regardless of gender, relative to active gamblers, non-gamblers were more likely to hold strong personal health beliefs, be uninvolved in antisocial behavior, exhibit good safety behaviors, and not have experienced a mouth injury while playing sports during the past year. Female gamblers were more likely to be active tobacco users, to speak a language other than English at home, and engage in more than 2 hours a day of screen time than non-gamblers. Male gamblers were more likely to be physically active, Hispanic, use alcohol, and perceive lower levels of social control in their neighborhoods than non-gamblers.
CONCLUSIONS: Gambling may be a topic that is appropriate for inclusion in school programs targeting health risk reduction among eighth-grade students.