Measuring gambling-related harms among children and young people: A framework for action

Research on behalf of the Gambling Commission and GambleAware.

The author(s)

  • Dr. Margaret Blake Ipsos Public Affairs, UK
  • Claudia Mollidor Ipsos Public Affairs, UK
  • Leila Morris Ipsos Public Affairs, UK
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The Gambling Commission have published a framework for measuring harms. This report, which has been developed by Ipsos MORI in collaboration with the Gambling Commission, Advisory Board for Safer Gambling and GambleAware, presents a framework to better understand the harms that can occur from gambling.  These include impacts on health, relationships and finances among young people. It builds on earlier work by the Gambling Commission to develop a framework for gambling-related harms among adults.

Key aspects of young people’s lives differ from adults which affects the ways in which they are likely to experience harm from gambling.  Childhood and adolescence is a key stage of development which means that harms are likely to impact their future potential as well as having impacts in childhood and adolescence. Children and young people are also financially and emotionally dependent on others which means that as well as their own gambling, the gambling of others, especially parents, has the potential to cause harm.

This framework has been developed through a workshop with professionals working with young people and experts in gambling, and focus groups and interviews with young people.  The initial questions cover just some of the harms in the framework and are intended to explore harms experienced from all gambling, even where it would not be classified as problem gambling.  The framework has also been designed to cover both severe harms that affect fewer people, as well as less severe, more intangible harms that may affect more people.

This work is a starting point for exploring gambling-related harms for young people and we anticipate that the framework and measures will develop in the future.

In addition to Ipsos MORI, Heather Wardle (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine) and Gerda Reith (University of Glasgow) were also co-authors of this report.

Technical Note

The framework was developed and initial measures tested though:

  • an expert workshop of professionals and researchers working with young people and working in the field of gambling;
  • four focus groups in schools with young people aged 13-18;
  • cognitive testing of proposed questions with young people aged 16-21.

Expert workshop of professionals and researchers

15 professionals participated in this workshop convened by Ipsos MORI and held in August 2018.  At the workshop participants were asked to describe the challenges facing young people today generally.  This was followed by sub group and plenary discussion about harms related to gambling for young people. The harms suggested at this workshop were thematically organised, both during and after the workshop to form the basis of the framework.

Focus groups with young people

Two groups look place in the West Midlands with boys aged 14-15 and two mixed gender groups took place in the North of England with young people aged 16-17.  Across four groups 35 young people participated.  The groups took place in October 2018.  The discussions with young people focused on their experiences and perceptions of gambling and motivations to gamble. Young people were also asked to give their views on the first draft of the framework (developed after the workshop with experts) to obtain their views on the domains and to gauge the extent to which the framework reflected their understanding and experiences of gambling.  The framework was developed further following the focus groups.

Cognitive testing of proposed questions

Based on the previous stages initial questions to measure harm were developed to cover different aspects of the harms framework.  These questions were tested in 20 interviews with young people aged 16-21 which included those who gambled and those who did not.  The interviews took place in November 2018 in and around London.

Piloting of questions

The questions were subsequently piloted using the Young Person’s Omnibus Survey and results from this will be published in due course.

Please see the framework report for more details about the methodology.


The author(s)

  • Dr. Margaret Blake Ipsos Public Affairs, UK
  • Claudia Mollidor Ipsos Public Affairs, UK
  • Leila Morris Ipsos Public Affairs, UK