Short-term effects of a school-based program on gambling prevention in adolescents

J Adolesc Health. 2013 May;52(5):599-605. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2012.11.009. Epub 2013 Feb 1.


Purpose: To evaluate short-term effects of a school-based media education program for sixth- and seventh-grade adolescents on gambling knowledge, attitudes, and behavior.

Methods: A two-wave cluster randomized control trial with two arms (intervention vs. control group) was conducted in the German Federal State of Schleswig-Holstein. The intervention group received a four-unit media education program, which contained one unit on gambling. The program was implemented by trained teachers during class time. The control group attended regular classes without any specific intervention. Survey data from 2,109 students with a mean age (SD) of 12.0 (.85) years was collected before and shortly after the intervention.

Results: Thirty percent of the sample reported lifetime gambling; 6.7% were classified as current gamblers. Results of multilevel mixed-effects regression analyses revealed significant program effects in terms of an increased gambling knowledge (d = .18), decreased problematic gambling attitudes (d = .15), as well as a decrease of current gambling (d = .02) in the intervention group compared to the control group. The program had no significant influence on lifetime gambling.

Conclusions: A 90-minute lesson about gambling can improve gambling knowledge and change attitudes toward gambling and gambling behavior among adolescents. Studies with a longer follow-up period are needed to test the long-term effects of such an intervention.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior*
  • Female
  • Gambling / prevention & control*
  • Germany
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Program Evaluation
  • Regression Analysis
  • School Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome

Associated data

  • ISRCTN/ISRCTN64296752