Perceptions, people and place: Findings from a rapid review of qualitative research on youth gambling

Addict Behav. 2019 Mar:90:99-106. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2018.10.008. Epub 2018 Oct 9.


Exploring perceptions, experiences and determinants of youth gambling is crucial for understanding both the impact of youth gambling now and the antecedents of future behaviour. Qualitative research plays an important role in exploring these processes, yet to date, there has been no systematic review of qualitative scientific literature of youth gambling behaviour. A rapid review of three databases (PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science) and grey literature was conducted to map what qualitative research has been conducted, to identify gaps and discern emerging theories or themes about youth gambling behaviour. Peer-reviewed studies were included if they qualitatively explored youth experiences or perceptions of gambling. Narrative and thematic synthesis identified key descriptive and analytical themes covered by the studies. From 75 studies, 21 papers were included. Studies focused on youth perceptions of gambling (including advertising) and/or the factors shaping behaviour. Those which examined perceptions highlighted the normalcy of gambling in the minds of youth and its embeddedness in everyday life but also ambiguity and nuance around their differing perceptions of what gambling is. Studies emphasised the relationship between people (family, peers), place, technology and advertising as key facilitators of behaviour. This review shows young people's perceptions of gambling differs from legal and legislative definitions, which risks underestimating the nature and extent of youth gambling behaviour. There are also notable gaps in knowledge, specifically around the role of technology in shaping gambling behaviours beyond consideration of access and availability. There is a pressing need to better understand the whole techno-ecosystem in which gambling is situated and young people's relationship with it to understand youth gambling.

Keywords: Gambling; Qualitative; Review; Youth.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology*
  • Adult
  • Advertising
  • Attitude*
  • Child
  • Child Behavior / psychology*
  • Gambling / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Legislation as Topic
  • Mobile Applications
  • Motivation*
  • Object Attachment
  • Peer Group
  • Qualitative Research
  • Social Norms
  • Young Adult