TABLE 3-10 Comparison of U.S. Adolescent Pathological Gambling, Alcohol Use, and Drug Use Rates


Alcohol Use

Drug Use

1-6% pathological gambling, past year

8-23% use alcohol once a month or more, or have ever had an alcohol problem

3-9% marijuana use, past month

9-23% pathological or problem gambling, past year


1-2.5% use of other drugs, past month

proportion of pathological gamblers ranged from 1 to 6 percent, and the proportion of problem and pathological gamblers combined ranged from 9 to 23 percent.

Although the number of studies on this issue is limited, it appears that the rates of past-year pathological and problem gambling combined among adolescents in the United States are comparable to the rates of monthly alcohol use among adolescents, and with rates of adolescents ever having had a problem with alcohol. In addition, the rates of past-year pathological gambling among adolescents are nearly comparable to past-month marijuana use, and they equal or exceed past-month use of other illicit drugs by that population. These results are summarized in Table 3-10.

The Elderly and Other Age Groups

Seventeen of the studies identified in Table 3-1 provided breakdowns for gamblers without problems and for problem and pathological gamblers in a form that permitted comparison across age groups.7 As discussed above, virtually all of those break-


Emerson et al. (1994); Kallick et al. (1979); Laundergan et al. (1990); Reilly and Guida (1990); Volberg (1992, 1993, 1995a, 1996a, 1997); Volberg and Boles (1995); Volberg and Silver (1993); Volberg and Stuefen (1994); Volberg et al. (1991); Wallisch (1993, 1996); New Mexico Department of Health (1996).

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