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Minerva Psichiatrica 2020 June;61(2):47-52

DOI: 10.23736/S0391-1772.19.02037-5


language: English

Gambling disorders in Italian young population: a scientific and social emergency

Pietro FERRARA 1, 2 , Chiara ZAPPIA 2, Rossella GIORDANO 2, Alessia MICELI 2, Giulia FRANCESCHINI 2, Massimo PETTOELLO-MANTOVANI 3

1 Institute of Pediatrics, Catholic University Medical School, Rome, Italy; 2 Service of Pediatrics, Campus Bio-Medico University (Hospital), Rome, Italy; 3 Institute of Pediatrics, Casa Sollievo Institute, University of Foggia, Foggia, Italy

BACKGROUND: The aim of our study is to assess the prevalence of adolescent gamblers in Italy. We focus on differences between males and females and areas of provenance. We have also studied the average age of gamblers interviewed and the average age of their first contact with gambling activities.
METHODS: The study was conducted from September 10st, 2018 to October 4th, 2018 and a total of 381 Italian youths participated. The sample refers to the Italian population between 10 and 16 years of age and a total of 322 questionnaires were considered eligible for this study. To identify individuals who are at risk for pathological gambling, Massachusetts Adolescents Gambling Screen (MAGS 7) was employed.
RESULTS: The survey was conducted using two methods: 40% (N.=130) completed online, using a non-replicable, unique, and anonymous access ID and 60% (N.=192) completed using the paper and pencil questionnaire. Based on responses to the questionnaire, gamblers were categorized, according to the MAGS Classification Key, as Non-pathological, In Transition or Pathological. Out of 322, 195 are not gamblers, 127 are gamblers. It is concluded that 15 (11.81%) are pathological gamblers and 112 (88.18%) are non-pathological gamblers. Among the gamblers there are 45 (35.15%) girls and 82 (65.07%) boys and the majority are aged between 14 and 16 years old and come from the South of Italy.
CONCLUSIONS: Through training courses dedicated to paediatricians, more attention will be paid to gambling addiction, symptoms and consequences. Professionals trained in this way will sensitize families and students in schools.

KEY WORDS: Gambling; Adolescents; Emergencies

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