A behaviour sequence analysis of young people and gambling-related harm

David Keatley*, Adrian Parke, Ellen Townsend, Claire Markham, David Clarke

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    3 Citations (Scopus)
    69 Downloads (Pure)


    Gambling is a worldwide issue that requires continued, extensive investigation. Most people have gambled at some point in their lives, and many do so without incurring problems. However, a number of individuals do experience gambling-related harm, and understanding the pathways or life histories these individuals have experienced may elucidate how and why their gambling became harmful. The current research uses a novel method, Behaviour Sequence Analysis, to understand the temporal pathways that young people experience when first gambling. Behaviour Sequence Analysis takes multiple qualitative accounts, first-person interviews in the current study, and collates the data into statistical pathway models that show the chains between behaviours and events. A sample of 66 participants provided details of their life experiences regarding what led them to first gamble. Results indicated that parents and peers had a large influence and were facilitators in the first-time gambling episode, which was expected. However, the results also showed that many participants suggested that receiving scratch cards in their birthday cards was their first experience of gambling, and this seemingly innocuous act was the first step towards a pathway into gambling-related harm. The findings, therefore, support previous literature, while highlighting a novel method for future research, and various key intervention points for which strategies could be developed to reduce the potential for developing gambling-related harm behaviours.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages19
    JournalJournal of Gambling Issues
    Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2019


    • Gambling
    • Gambling-related harm
    • Young people
    • Behaviour Sequence analysis
    • Developmental


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