Gambling and Emerging Adults: Understanding Risk Pathways

Lia Nower, JD, Ph.D. Professor and Director
Center for Gambling Studies
Rutgers University, School of Social Work

In 2022, the ICRG released a call for proposals inviting investigators to explore the impact of expanded legalized gambling on emerging adults (aged 18-26). The winning proposal was a Center of Excellence led by Dr. Lia Nower at Rutgers University. The center will study established risk factors for this demographic group, along with more contemporary considerations, such as the influence of the changing legislative landscape, gambling associated with video games, as well as understudied areas such as genetic risk factors, intergenerational influences, and dispositional variables. The use of representative samples will bolster the generalizability of the findings while providing a nuanced understanding of how risk is influenced by state support of gambling. In addition, longitudinal datasets with genetic information will inform an exploration of biological correlates and trajectory of gambling activity and problems in the context of a theoretical framework, the Pathways Model, developed by Dr. Nower and Dr. Alex Blaszczynski. This model “integrates the complex array of biological, personality, developmental, cognitive, learning theory and ecological determinants of problem and pathological gambling.”

The overall goal of this Center of Excellence Proposal is to conduct a comprehensive, systematic study of risk factors that impact gambling among emerging adults to inform policy, education, prevention, and treatment efforts. Translational knowledge from this project will be disseminated as evidence-based materials and tools that will be useful for the general public as well as for treatment providers, policymakers, and researchers.

This research was funded by grants from FanDuel and Hard Rock Entertainment to the International Center for Responsible Gaming.

Year: 2022
Type: Centers of Excellence