Parents who dismiss a toddler’s foot-stomping and tantrum-throwing as ordinary growing pains may want to revisit that idea. Defiant, impulsive behaviour in preschool could hint that a child is at risk of developing a gambling problem later on in life.
At least that’s the takeaway from a recent study published in Psychological Science linking “under-controlled” temperament in childhood to compulsive gambling.
If accurate, the report’s authors say the findings could have far-reaching implications on the way we approach problems related to self-control and emotional regulation.
Researchers established the link by observing the behaviour of more than 1,000 toddlers from New Zealand and then following up with those individuals a few decades later.
Participants who were labelled as more restless, moody or inattentive than other three-year-old children were twice as likely to struggle with gambling at ages 21 and 32, the study found.
What’s more is, researchers say they couldn’t pin the disordered gambling on differences in intelligence, gender or family socioeconomic status, though all of these avenues were explored.
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