and California are significantly more likely to be nonwhite than those from Iowa (Volberg, 1994).

Family and Peer Influences on Children and Adolescents

Family and peer influences on children and adolescents to gamble may also constitute a risk factor for pathological and problem gambling. Studies reveal that gamblers, especially pathological and problem gamblers who begin gambling as children or adolescents, are frequently introduced to gambling by family members or their peers (Jacobs, 1989b, 1989a; Jacobs et al., 1989). Often the first exposure to gambling for American youths is gambling in a relaxed family setting with cards, dice, and board games. Other forms of gambling exposure reported by adolescents include playing lotteries, playing games of skill such as bowling or billiards for money, sports betting, racetrack betting, and gambling in casinos (Lesieur and Klein, 1987; Kuley and Jacobs, 1988; Steinberg, 1989), which themselves may be potentially influenced by family members and friends.

An association between personal gambling and peer gambling has been observed in several studies of adolescent gamblers (Derevensky and Gupta, 1996; Gupta and Derevensky, 1998a, 1998b; Jacobs, 1989a; Wynne et al., 1996; Stinchfield and Winters, 1998). These findings are consistent with theoretical and empirical literature substantiating that peers have a strong influence on other adolescent risky behaviors, such as substance use, driving without safety belts, and early sexual behavior (Jessor and Jessor, 1977; Billy and Udry, 1985; Newcomb and Bentler, 1989). Moreover, peer gambling may influence an individual's involvement in gambling in a direct way, through social factors that include peer pressure, or through indirect processes, in which an individual is attracted to a peer group for several reasons, including gambling behavior. But there is still some question as to whether peers have a strong influence on early gambling or other risky adolescent behaviors. At this point, all we can say for sure is that family and peer influences as psychosocial variables are correlates or predictors of gambling behavior.



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