Reassessing college and university gambling policies: how have schools changed from 2003 to 2017?
Kleschinsky, John H.
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BACKGROUND: In the U.S., more than two-thirds of college and university students report gambling in the past year. Although most U.S. college students gamble without experiencing clinically significant symptoms, they do experience more problems compared to more mature adult populations. It is estimated that 16.3% of U.S. college students experience clinical or subclinical gambling disorder. Gambling disorder is a serious mental health problem on college campuses with the potential for negative academic, financial, and mental health outcomes. This study is only the second to assess college gambling policies in the U.S. and the first to assess college gambling policies at two time-points. METHODS: To gather gambling policies and supporting web-based materials, I completed extensive searches of websites for 117 U.S. colleges and universities. I assessed each school’s policies and supporting web-based materials using a modified version of Shaffer et al.’s (2005) gambling policy assessment. The policy-coding instrument includes questions about state-level gambling characteristics, school-level characteristics, school gambling policies, and implementation of the Task Force on College Gambling Policy’s 2009 recommendations. RESULTS: A previous assessment of gambling policies among this sample of U.S. colleges and universities found that only 25 had a gambling policy. By the beginning of the 2016-17 academic year, a review of each college and university’s policies revealed that 82 colleges and universities (70.1%) now have a gambling policy, representing a 228% increase. This follow-up assessment further explores college and university gambling policies by reviewing the location and scope of those policies, plus whether certain state or college/university characteristics are associated with having a gambling policy in 2017. CONTRIBUTION: In addition to the study findings, I provide college and university health practitioners with a guide to assess, select, and implement problem gambling policies and programs that are responsive to their campus needs based on SAMHSA’s Strategic Prevention Framework.
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