The risky behaviours of gambling have been found to be associated with sexual behaviours in teenagers, reveal researchers.
The researchers at the Mailman School of Public Health with colleagues at Johns Hopkins University studied the degree to which adolescent sexual behaviors and gambling, affected African American youth in nine primary schools in Baltimore, MD.
In data collected from a cohort study, they assessed whether certain adolescent sexual behaviors linked with unintended consequences such as adolescent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections [STI] are associated with gambling behaviors.
The researchers based their analysis on responses to the South Oaks Gambling Screen-Revised for Adolescents. Several questions also assessed sexual behaviors, including age of initiation.
The findings showed that of the 427 African-American youth studied almost half the sample - 49 percent- had gambled at least once before age 18, and more gamblers than non-gamblers had initiated sexual intercourse by age 18.
The data also showed that for those who had gambled by age 18, 46 percent were frequent gamblers. Among those who had initiated sexual activity, more gamblers than non-gamblers with high impulsivity at age 13 had become pregnant or had impregnated someone.
By age 18, more male gamblers had impregnated someone by age 18 as compared to female gamblers becoming pregnant. Nine percent of the sexually active youth ever had an STI.
The study was published in the journal Addictive Behaviors.