Psychological Factors and Sports Gambling Behaviour: Findings among Selected Adolescents in Nigeria

Matthew Olugbenga Olasupo


Background: Sports gambling behaviour especially among adolescents has continued to be a source of research concern among psychologists and concerned stakeholders in Nigeria. This is because of the mental health implications it has for the individuals involved, in addition to the financial risks and other attendant social consequences. In an effort to ameliorate this problem, the study examined the role of parenting styles, optimism and peer pressure on sports gambling behaviour among adolescents.

Methods: A cross-sectional research design was used to select 200 adolescents aged 12 to 16 years (Mean age = 14.08; SD = 1.78) who were purposively selected in a sub-urban community in Nigeria. A structured questionnaire with measures of parenting styles, optimism, peer pressure, sports gambling, and demographic information was used to extract the data that were analysed using correlation and hierarchical multiple regression.

Results: From the correlation analyses, there was a significant positive relationship between authoritative parenting style and sports gambling behaviour, a positive relationship between permissive style and sports gambling behaviour, and a positive relationship between peer pressure and sports gambling behaviour. Multiple regression analyses revealed that authoritative style predicted sports gambling behaviour. Permissive parenting style also predicted sports gambling behaviour. Furthermore, peer pressure also predicted sports gambling behaviour.

Conclusion: Parenting styles and peer pressure emerged as strong factors impacting sports gambling behaviour among adolescents within the study setting but optimism did not. These findings suggest that psychologists should consider the role of parenting styles (authoritative and permissive) and peer pressure when putting up intervention programs aimed at curbing sports gambling behaviour among adolescents.


Addiction; Developing country; Psychological factors; Recreational activities; Sports gambling.

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