Gambling behaviour and motivation in British older adult populations: A grounded theoretical framework

Abstract

Gambling participation among older adults aged 65 and above has increased in Great Britain. However, there is limited research and therefore understanding about cognitive and behavioural patterns of gambling for this demographic. The objective of this study is to develop a substantive framework that represents the gambling behaviour of older adults in Great Britain, with specific reference to motivational factors affecting behaviour. A systematic grounded theory approach (Strauss & Corbin, 1998) was used to produce an inductive set of theoretical propositions. A stratified sample of 17 British older adults aged 65 years and older, who gambled frequently, was recruited. Theoretical sampling was used to fully develop emerging concepts. Axial and selective coding revealed that gambling was often used as a coping mechanism to alleviate distress from psychological and physical lifestyle changes associated with the aging process. In total, four grounded theoretical propositions emerged that accounted for gambling participation, including facilita- tion of gambling, psychological stress reduction, physical stress mediation, and satisfaction of stimulation needs. Patterns emerged from the data that suggested unique motivational factors regarding gambling behaviour of older adults in Great Britain in contrast to other adult populations. This is the first study to investigate gambling behaviour in British older adults. New directions for future research are discussed in relation to emergent findings.

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