Get access

Examining the Relationship Between At-Risk Gambling and Suicidality in a National Representative Sample of Young Adults


  • This research uses data from Add Health, a program project designed by J. Richard Udry, Peter S. Bearman, and Kathleen Mullan Harris, and funded by a grant P01-HD31921 from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, with cooperative funding from 17 other agencies. Special acknowledgment is due Ronald R. Rindfuss and Barbara Entwisle for assistance in the original design. Persons interested in obtaining data files from Add Health should contact Add Health, Carolina Population Center, 123 W. Franklin Street, Chapel Hill, NC 27516–2524 (

Department of Sociology, Nassau Community College, One Education Drive, Garden City, New York 11530–6793; E-mail:


Although many clinical studies document a relationship between gambling and suicidality, evidence of this association in general population surveys has been mixed. Probing this association in a nationally representative sample of young adults with data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health, we made same gender comparisons of depression and suicidality between 298 at-risk gamblers and 13,000 others. Although gamblers of both genders showed higher depression, only females reported significantly higher suicide thoughts and attempts. Males with gambling problems were no more likely than nongamblers to have suicide thoughts or to make prior suicide attempts on three separate measurement occasions.