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   A Memorial University of Newfoundland Publication

July 24, 2003

Taking a gamble

Anne-Marie Sullivan
Anne-Marie Sullivan

University students are in a transitional period in their lives. While moving from childhood to adulthood, they make up a distinct group who may become involved in particular activities or adopt certain behaviours as they make lifestyle decisions.

Anne-Marie Sullivan, assistant professor in the School of Human Kinetics and Recreation, is embarking on her doctoral research to address questions related to gambling in university students.

So far, much research on this topic has focused on quantifying rates and percentages of gambling. Ms. Sullivan asserts that, “we need to know why people gamble, to go beyond the fact that people do gamble.”

While only a small percentage of the general population suffers from pathological (problem) gambling, recent research has shown that university students have the highest rate of gambling overall, and therefore the highest percentage of problem gamblers.

University students, as a whole, often indulge in risk-taking behaviours, which can have both positive and negative effects. Ms. Sullivan seeks to determine whether gambling is a leisure pursuit, or a problem with university students, and whether gambling can be understood in the same way as these other risk-taking activities. Furthermore, she intends to compare the university population to other populations, as well as distinguish factors that may influence which students will outgrow pathological gambling versus those who will make it a lifelong habit.

Ms. Sullivan’s work will begin by surveying about 300 students at Memorial, and then selecting 40-45 informants from the survey results to participate in eight focus groups. As well as her results, she is looking forward to exploring different methodological approaches, data collection, and sampling methods.

For more information, or to participate in Ms. Sullivan’s study, she may be reached via e-mail at, or by telephone at 737-4453.




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Next issue: August 7, 2003

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