Impacts of Parental Gambling on Adolescent Gambling Behavior and Mental Health Status


  • Siu Man Hsu HKFYG Youth Wellness Center
  • Lok Man Lam HKFYG Youth Wellness Center
  • Irene Lai Kuen Wong The Hong Kong Polytechnic University


A school-based survey was conducted to examine the impact of parental gambling on adolescent gambling behavior and mental health status. A self-administered standardized questionnaire was distributed to 1,095 high school students. The response rate was 84.5%. Forty-seven percent of the participants reported gambling in the past year. Using the DSM-IV-MR-J (Fisher, 2000), 3.5% (n=31) of the participants could be identified as being at–risk for developing problem gambling, and 0.9% (n=8) could be classified as probable pathological gamblers. Only 16.7% of the participants (n=155) disclosed having a parent who gambled but the perceived harms in the family were alarming including disrupted family relationship, family financial difficulties and diminished need fulfillment. Comparing with youth who had no parental gambling problems, adolescents with parental gambling problems reported significantly higher levels of stress, anxiety and depression. They also experienced lower levels of social support from their family. The study results have implications for preventive initiatives, intervention strategies and future research.