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A-level pupils to study gambling

Teenagers could learn about the psychology behind gambling addiction as part of a planned new A-level course.

The OCR exam board wants to introduce the topic to its psychology A-level in a bid to make exams more relevant.

The board said the subject was very topical for young people with an estimated 33 million British adults gambling every week.

OCR, which has sought approval for the draft A-level from the exams regulator, wants to offer it from September 2008.

The move comes as schools are being encouraged to make the subjects they teach more relevant and accessible to pupils.

All pupils taking the exam would study the gambling module along with 14 other topics which form part of the draft A-level syllabus.

OCR psychology subject officer Diane Cole said: "With plans for the UK's first super casino being reviewed by the government, the danger of gambling addiction is very topical for students to cover as part of their A-level psychology course."

Part of the new course draws from a report by gambling expert Professor Mark Griffiths of Nottingham Trent University.

Prof Griffiths' examined aspects of gambling including the way some participants talk to fruit machines and make irrational statements like: "The machine likes me" or "I lost there because I wasn't concentrating".

He said A-level students did need to learn about the application of psychology in "real world situations".

'Addictive behaviour'
"Against a backdrop of gambling liberalisation and deregulation, gambling addiction looks set to increase and educating students about gambling behaviour will be of real interest," Prof Griffiths added.

Director of the Responsibility in Gambling Trust, Malcolm Bruce, said most people who gamble did so responsibly but that they needed to be educated about the potential risks.

"For some, however, gambling can become an addictive behaviour with devastating consequences for themselves, their families and their friends.

"We need to know more about how and why gambling affects people in different ways."

BBC News
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