According to a new study published in the online journal of Addiction, conducted by Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health’s researchers, impulsiveness in young males is connected to problems with gambling in the later teen years.
The behaviors of 310 young males, the majority of whom were African American and came from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, were studied. The information on these young males was organized and based on a Teacher Report of Classroom Behavior Checklist from a small urban population in Baltimore, Maryland. The behaviors that were identified in the young males—students from the ages of 11 through 15 —by the Teacher Report were that of disorderly interruptions, waits for turns, and answers being blurted out.
After the researchers studied the report’s information, they organized all 310 students into two discrete categories. The first group, made up of 41 percent of the students, had a higher propensity for future impulsiveness than that of the other 59 percent, who had lower tendencies for future impulsiveness. The use of personal teachers’ reports of the students’ behavior was much more beneficial and conclusive rather than the students self-reporting their own behavior.
Using the South Oaks Gambling Screen-Revised for Adolescents, the researchers assessed through interviews the gambling behavior of students, ages 17, 19, and 20. In conclusion, they found that the males who were studied and placed in the 41 percent of students with a higher tendency for future impulsiveness were twice as likely to encounter “at-risk” gambling behavior and three times more at risk for developing problems with gambling. In all the students interviewed, two-thirds of them had already experienced some sort of gambling. Overall, 20 percent of the students interviewed were in danger of developing “at risk” gambling and only 9 percent were problem gamblers already.
Males were chosen for the study over females because females naturally show lesser signs of impulsiveness and demonstrate dissimilar patterns of growth and development.
Silvia Martins, MD, PhD, assistant professor of Epidemiology at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health and study researcher, said, “From our findings we see that teaching impulse control early in elementary school may have a long term benefit in decreasing the likelihood of youth following an elevated trajectory of impulsiveness.”
- “Problem Gambling In Late Teen Years For Urban Boys May Be Predicted By Impulsivity In First Grade.” Medical News Today. MediLexicon, Intl., 24 Nov. 2012. Web.
5 Dec. 2012.