gambling among youth and 15.5 percent for lifetime pathological and problem gambling. As we have discussed, however, the great variation among studies in procedures, instrumentation, and definitions makes it quite difficult to either compare or integrate findings regarding the prevalence of problem gambling among adolescents. The NORC study adds further variation to this situation. There remains considerable question about how pathological and problem gambling should be defined and measured among youth, and no general consensus on these matters seems to be emerging in the research.
Some perspective on the magnitude of the prevalence rates for pathological and problem gambling among adolescents is provided by comparing them with the rates for other problem behaviors in the same population. Six of the studies identified in Table 3-7 not only examined the prevalence of gambling problems but also asked respondents about other problem behaviors (Volberg, 1993, 1998a; Volberg and Boles, 1995; Allen, 1995; Steinberg, 1997; Westphal et al., 1997). These studies provide especially comparable information on other problem behaviors because of the common samples, methods, instruments, and so forth used to collect the data on both issues.
Among these six studies, three reported the percentages of adolescents who said they had used marijuana in the past month (Volberg, 1993, 1998a; Volberg and Boles, 1995). These values ranged from 3 to 9 percent. The percentages using other drugs in the past month ranged from 1 to 2.5 percent. By comparison, in those same studies the proportions found to have the most serious (Level 3) gambling problems in the past year ranged from 1 to 4 percent. Combined with those classified as at-risk or problem gamblers (Level 2), the totals ranged from 10 to 23 percent, although it is important to note that the time periods differ.
Five of these studies reported the percentages of their adolescent samples that used alcohol once a month or more or ever had an alcohol problem (Steinberg, 1997; Volberg, 1993, 1998a; Volberg and Boles, 1995; Westphal et al., 1997). These proportions ranged from 8 to 23 percent. In these same studies, the