Cristina Genovese, Pasquale Spataro, Roberto Venuto, Vincenza La Fauci, Bruno Cosenza, Maria Angela Rita Palamara, Francesco Mazzù, Giovanni Campanella, Giovanni Cipriano, Luca Pantaleo, Francesco Fedele, Angela Di Pietro, Raffaele Squeri
In recent years, gambling addiction has become a serious public health problem, so much so that pathological gambling was included by Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in the “Dependency category”. In some gamblers this behavior becomes problematic and pathological, with negative consequences not only for players themselves but also for their families and the community. The aims of the present study are: a) to evaluate the prevalence of gambling behavior in a sample of young students of the Southern Italy b) to assess the impact of sociodemographic variables to the gambling phenomena c) to identify possible impact on psychological, social, behavioral, and financial status of the gambling. The study was conducted from April 2016 to August 2020 trough the administration of a survey based on DSM-V to students at University of Messina. The sample comprised 620 students of these 34% played at least one time, but the prevalence of gambling addiction is low (score over 4 was detected only in 3% of the sample). According with other studies in terms of engagement in or frequency of gambling, men gambled more than women. The main reason for play is to win (14%), followed by have an easy way of earning money (10%) or for fun (35%). Gambling addiction is a dangerous condition that affects even the youngest: in modern times, the growing social and mass pressure pushes towards consumerism; likewise, the growing availability of access to gambling at low prices and the lack of social contacts, the isolation of behind electronic screens, could bring a growing number of gamblers with serious national and international public health overcomes.