Should I give kids money? The role of pocket money on at-risk behaviors in Italian adolescents
Edoardo Lozza, Carlotta Micaela Jarach, Giulia Sesini, Elena Marta, Alessandra Lugo, Eugenio Santoro, Silvano Gallus, HBSC Lombardy Committee 2018
Background. Discussion on the impact of pocket money on positive behaviors is still debated.
Objective. To investigate the effect of diverse money allowance schemes on risky behaviors (smoking, alcohol, binge drinking, drug use, gambling) during adolescence.
Method. 989 students aged 15 from Lombardy (Italy) reported information on money availability in the 2018 wave of the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children study. To analyze the relationship between money availability and risky behaviors we computed odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals through unconditional multiple logistic regression models.
Results. Spending more than 10€ weekly was associated with higher likelihood to smoke, binge drink or gamble. Receiving pocket money (rather than receiving money upon request) was related to higher likelihood to engage in risky behaviors.
Conclusions. Pocket money may have a negative impact on adolescents, particularly with a substantial amount of money. More research is needed to understand why providing money only if needed may serve as a protective factor against risky behaviors.