GAMBLING ADDICTION AS A DISEASE AMONG THE YOUTH: A CASE STUDY OF KITENGELA TOWNSHIPS, KAJIADO COUNTY
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Gambling among youth is a growing public health concern. Similar to adults, research reveals that gambling among the youth can lead to adverse outcomes such as strained relationships, delinquency and criminal behaviour, depression and even suicide. The broad objective of the study was to investigate gambling addiction as a disease among the youth, with a special focus to Kitengela Townships, Kajiado County. Specifically, the study outlined the social factors, explore the cultural factors, investigate the motivation of gambling behaviours and investigate how education affects gambling behaviours among the youth at Kitengela Townships, Kajiado County. The study employed a descriptive research design and targeted the unemployed youth aged between 18 -35 years both male and female from to Kitengela Townships, Kajiado County. The primary data was collected using structured questionnaires in this study. Data coding, entry, and modification are all part of the data analysis process. The research used both qualitative and quantitative methodologies, each requiring its own set of procedures. For quantitative data cleansing, coding was used to identify mistakes, omissions, and inconsistencies, which will be followed by a data entry procedure using the Statistical Package for Social Scientists (SPSS) (SPSS version 24.0). The study found out that Slightly over half of the respondents (54%) who participated in the study were female, majority of the respondents (63.1%) were aged between 20- 25 years and majority (87%) of the respondents indicated that they had ever placed a bet. On gambling addiction as a disease among the youth at Kitengela Townships, Kajiado County, 56.9% and 35.4% of the respondent indicated that culture influenced their betting behaviour; society supported betting (55.4%); bet because they were sports. The study revealed that gambling among youth was high. The major motivation for gambling was monetary gain. Many youths wanted to strike it rich without working hard for the riches. This could be due to distorted cognitions especially perceived from their significant others, peers as well as the promotional advertisements in the media. Prevention strategies should be developed to deal with gambling problems. Primary interventions would be targeted towards prevention of development of gambling problems. Secondary interventions should target those that are at risk, or who display probable gambling problems. Tertiary interventions would deal with those who are already addicted and need treatment. Gambling promotional adverts in the media should be banned completely. Banning these adverts would reduce some of the influences and acceptability that is generally evident in the public. Alternatively, gambling advertising should be restricted by ethical laws similar to what happens with tobacco and alcohol. That means alongside the adverts, realistic information should be provided on the consequences of gambling on one’s health and wellbeing.