University of New England, Australia
Title: Attitudes to gambling in Ghanaian adolescents
Barry Tolchard has been a clinician and gambling researchers for the past 20 years. He has published work on the outcomes of Cognitive-behavior Therapy for problem gamblers and examined the concomitant health factors associated with gambling. He was one among the team to create a new gambling screening tool (The Victorian gambling Screen) based on public health principles of harm. He is also the co-author of the New England 4G Framework for Guided Self-Health. This framework offers clinicians a model for working with people experiencing a range of mental and physical problems to find solutions to help themselves. He is currently the Deputy Head of School (Health) for research at the University of New England in Australia.
Gambling is on the rise throughout the world. Gambling operators are seeing new opportunities to introduce their products into less developed areas. Ghana has recently legalized gambling, giving residents the chance to play both online and with land based providers. There has been limited research into the impacts of legalizing gambling in Ghana, with no social impact or attitudinal data available. This paper will describe the first study to examine the attitudes to gambling of Ghanaian adolescents and the impact this may be having on their school attainment and mental well-being. A series of gambling attitudinal questions were asked of 693 adolescent alongside perceived social support and stress factors in relation to their educational attainment. The results indicate there is a strong view that Ghanaian adolescents consider gambling to be a positive experience and a possible way out of poverty. However, adolescents with strong positive attitudes to gambling experienced poor social support and high levels of stress, impacting on their overall education. The study concludes better gambling education is need in Ghanaian schools.
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