Adolescents who had poor parental supervision at age 11, and which continued to decrease through age 14, were significantly likelier than others to become 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 percent were in a “Stable group” that reported consistently high levels of parental monitoring; the remaining 15 percent 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.
Senior author Silvia Martins, MD, PhD, Mailman School of Public Health associate professor of Epidemiology, said that 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 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.
Martins said that as kids grow older, it is normal for them to spend more time outside them home with friends, and for parents to give them the freedom to do so.
She said however, parents should be careful to stay engaged and be vigilant, asserting that the teenagers seek autonomy, but they may not yet have the maturity to keep them from engaging in risky behaviors.
The study has been published online in the journal Addiction. (ANI)