Who Are the Young Poker Players? A Latent Class Analysis of High School Teenagers


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Abstract

For the last 20 years, poker has been one of the most popular forms of gambling for adults. Although various studies have demonstrated the specific characteristics of these players, few studies have focused on teenagers playing poker. However, a better understanding of this activity among this vulnerable group would help to develop more effective strategies for preventing gambling problems. Thus, this study aims to identify, through latent class analysis, subgroups in that population and to assess co-occurrence across various characteristics typically associated with gambling behavior. The sample was constituted of 759 adolescents (70.8% boys; M age = 15.44 years, range = 14–19) recruited in high schools and who had played poker in the last year. The statistical fit indices revealed a four-class solution. Class 1 almost exclusively played simulated poker. Class 2 played poker exclusively in the school context. Class 3 played poker almost exclusively at home. Class 4 showed a very diversified pattern regarding their modalities of poker playing. Results of the logistic regression suggested that gambling related variables (e.g., time spent playing, reading about gambling strategies and diversity of gambling funding) were significant predictors of class membership. This study shows that there is a variety of profiles among young poker players. Although one profile has few risk factors, others have more factors associated with adults’ gambling problems. These profiles suggest that specific prevention strategies are probably appropriate to reach these different groups of young people.

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