Motivators for seeking gambling-related treatment among Ontario problem gamblers

Abstract

A random digit dialing telephone survey was used to interview 8,467 adults in Ontario, Canada. The NODS-CLiP was used to identify a representative sample of 730 gamblers (54.3% male, mean age 45.3 years) with possible past year gambling problems in order to explore factors that might affect disordered gamblers’ motivators for seeking gambling-related help. A final sample of 526 gamblers provided useable data on possible reasons for and barriers to seeking help, awareness of services, self-perception of gambling problems and experience with help-seeking. Financial and relationship issues were the most frequently volunteered motivators. However, over two-thirds of the respondents could not think of a reason for seeking help. Gamblers who had self-admitted or more severe problems, who knew how to get help, who were employed and had more education, and who identified possible barriers to seeking help were more likely to suggest motivators, especially financial ones. More research is recommended on gamblers’ trajectory towards recognition of a gambling problem, the process of overcoming specific barriers to treatment, and the role of social advantage (e.g., education and employment), in order to devise educational campaigns that will encourage earlier help-seeking among disordered gamblers.

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