A Pattern of Impulsivity Beginning in First Grade Predicts Problem Gambling in Teen Years for Urban Boys
Results of a new study by researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health indicate that a developmental pattern of impulsiveness in young males is linked with gambling problems in late adolescence. Respondents considered to be in the high impulsivity track as early as first grade doubled the odds of meeting criteria for at-risk/problem gambling, and tripled the odds of meeting criteria for problem gambling.
The study is the first to link a developmental pattern of impulsivity—defined as a tendency to make rush decisions without carefully considering potential negative consequences—and late-adolescent gambling. Findings appear online in the journal Addiction .
The researchers studied 310 predominately African American (87%) and low socioeconomic (70%) males from first grade to late adolescence in an urban community in Baltimore, Maryland. Ratings of classroom behavior were based on a Teacher Report of Classroom Behavior Checklist and included items such as waits for turn, interrupts, and blurts out answers. Annual assessments were made from ages 11 through 15.
Students fell into two distinct trajectories: 41% of the sample had a high impulse trajectory and 59% a lower impulse trajectory. While impulsivity tended to decline as the boys matured, those with high level of impulsivity in first grade